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NOTE: The information on this site is painfully incomplete and not
well-referenced. If you are looking for a good informational site, I strongly recommend you look elsewhere. This site was never really meant for general consumption, hence the poor attention to detail and research. It was an incomplete project which somehow got picked up by the search engines.
Please, please, please consider looking at other sites, at least until I revise this site so that it does justice to gothic architecture.
It\'s funny that Gothicism in architecture ended up being named as being representative of things that it actually despised, like Christianity and the common medieval outlook on life.
Based in the work of Abbot Sugar\'s cathedral at Saint-Denis, gothic architecture depended on the lighting and the height of the cathedrals. Conventional design was used to large, dark rooms which provided little light for people to bask in inside. Gothic cathedrals added many windows, tall and narrow, gigantic even. The glass in the windows was stained to further modify the light and let only the most soothing colors flow happily into the warm cathedral. Interestingly, the sun stood as the original sender, which passed through the religious figures shown in the windows, to fall upon the observers of God. The sun was, whether it was done so consciously or subconsciously,
Likened to the love of God himself and his warmth for his followers. The other emphasis was on height, reaching up towards our aspirations and towards God. Tall, tall towers with pointed spires were erected on the already large cathedrals. Piers and high, thin columns lined the relatively thin outer walls of gothic cathedrals, making the buildings appear to shoot straight up without anything stopping it. There was a certain confidence in this design, saying that nothing could keep these men down if their cathedrals could succeed so effortlessly. If there was one pure motivation for the gothic style, it was to show love to the Virgin Mary, whom in fact had a cathedral named after her at Notre Dame ("ourLady", in French). Many gothic style churches were left incomplete because of lack of funds and resources, or because the interest simply died out. This is symptomatic of the
Gothic genre as a whole -- it was a burdensome style to maintain and it quickly died out in favor of more practical, solid styles, which came later.
A History of the Gothic
The architectural style of the gothic was just one aspect of this phenomenon.
Gothic architecture was part of a whole movement of inspiration which spreadthrough the literary, social, political, and religious communities.
Quite obviously and unoriginal, the term "gothic" takes its roots from the
Goths, a wild, barbaric, Germanic people who inhabited what is now all of Europe around the third to the fifth centuries AD. Fierce, nomadic, and numerous, the Goths frightened civilizations all over. Even the mighty Romans, Bello Gallico, were worried about the as we know from Julius Caesar\'s De tribes and relatives of the Goths, even though as a civilization, the Romans were flourishing and expanding all over the Mediterranean, Britain, and Africa.
The origin of the term "gothic" is confused almost as frequently, and as outrageously, as all of its offshoots and later influences, which are still showing today. While "gothic" is derived from the Germanic Goths, none of the styles or influences came about because of anything the Goths did. To be "gothic" came to mean the opposition of the classical Greek and Roman styles. The Greeks and Romans were known for embracing reason and intelligence and
Sophistication and this philosophy controlled supreme throughout the medieval period. Constantly did figures like Augustine and the European rulers refer back to the ideas of Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, and lesser-known philosophers for inspiration. The Greeks and Romans considered themselves to be the best race
in the whole world, far above the nomadic clans who ravaged the land and
Made life difficult for peoples who hated lack of civility and barbarism. The Germanic tribes were known for being warlike and aggressive and ruthless when it came to acquiring new territory for them to inhabit until all resources were depleted. The law of the Germanic tribes was that of the family clan loyalty as opposed to a formal law system, which the classics, Rome in particular, had. It is understandable that the Greeks
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Architecture, Architectural styles, Visual arts, Art history, Medieval art, Church architecture, English architecture, Gothic architecture, Italian architecture, Romanesque architecture, Gothic art, Spire
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