Gothic Art and Architecture

     Essential Question(s)

·         How does Christian dogma influence the art, architecture, and literature of the period?

          •     How were the ideas of Plato incorporated into Christian theology?

·         What qualities distinguish Byzantine, Romanesque/Carolingian, and Gothic artistic expression?

Gothic Architecture
(1150 - 1600)
Gothic was originally a pejorative term applied by the Renaissance architect Giorgio Vasari to the architecture of this period in order to suggest "barbaric," expressing his disapprobation of the style.
Underlying philosophy was to create buildings of height and light.  According to one of the style's promoters, the Abbot Suger of Paris:
  • light = the divine light = the wisdom of God
  • height = eyes upward = direct one's thoughts to heaven
The church itself symbolizes the transcendence of the soul, from the earthly, corporeal body, to the ethereal, celestial soul.
The basic characteristics of the Gothic style are those which reinforce these symbolic meanings.
    Basic Characteristics of the Gothic Style
Increased size -- New Floor Plan
File:Amiens cathedral floorplan.JPG
    Ambulatory (9):
def: an aisle around the entire church which allowed pilgrims to view the chapels and relics without disturbing the mass
Vezelay Cathedral, France
    Pointed Arches
    Ribbed Groin Vaults
def: the intersection of two arches is accentuated with a raised outline
Reims Cathedral, France
File:Reims Cathedral, interior (4).jpg
    Plethora of Stained Glass Windows
Stained glass at Amiens, with Tracery
    Rose Window, Notre Dame Cathedral, France
Washington National Cathedral
File:Robert E Lee Stain Glass.JPG
def: the decorative stone carving framing the windows
Rose Window, Strasbourg Cathedral
File:Strassburg Rose exterior.jpg
File:Limoges curvilinear tracery.JPG
    Clerestory Windows
def: the row of windows above the ambulatory and just under the vaulting which allow light to enter the nave
Exterior -- St. Nicholas (also note flying buttresses)
File:Stralsund, st Nikolai (2007-01-24) d.JPG
Interior -- Malmesbury Abbey, England
    Flying Buttresses
def:  a support which transfers the weight of the roof to ground; the buttress is not attached to the wall all the waty to the ground.  It will bridge over empty space.
    Intricate carvings/gargoyles
Milan Cathedral, Italy (Flying buttresses)
Chartres Cathedral
Tympanum, South Transept, Chartres
Washington National Cathedral c. 1985
    Pulpitum and Choir
Pulpitum (or rood screen): def: a screen which separates the apse from the nave
Choir: def: an extended area between the transept and the apse
Pulpitum and choir, Albi Cathedral, France
File:Albi Cathedral Choir Wikimedia Commons.jpg 

St. Etienne, Paris

Ranworth Church

def: columns, known as piers, are carved so as to appear to be composed of a number of smaller columns bunched together.
Rouen Cathedral, France
Fichier:Normandie Seine Rouen16 tango7174.jpg
    Spires and Fleche
def: Fleche:  spire over the crossing (from the French for arrow)
 Reims Cathedral, France
Chartres Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral, England (John Constable)
File:Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop Grounds c.1825.jpg
       For Study and Discussion
Point out the salient characteristics of gothic architecture evident in this diagram of a crossection of a gothic cathedral:
Point out the salient characteristics of gothic architecture evident in this image of Amiens cathedral in France:
File:Picardie Amiens2 tango7174.jpg
Point out the salient characteristics of gothic architecture in this image of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris:
File:Notre Dame dalla Senna crop.jpg
Rouen Cathedral, France 
File:Rouen Cathedral.jpg
 Chartres Cathedral
Gloucester Cathedral, England
The Quire looking east<p></p>
 Washinton National Cathedral
    File:Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D C 1.jpg
Gothic Art
(1200 - 1400)
Gothic art is characterized by stylized images, with unnatural proportion and perspective, often decorated with gold leaf.
Cimabue, Simone Martini, Giotto di Bondone
Cimabure:  Madonna Enthroned c. 1280
File:Cimabue 033.jpg
Simone Martini: Annunciation with St. Margaret and St. Ansanus, c. 1333 (triptych -- tempera on wood panel)
Giotto: The Crucifixion, the Arena Chapel, Padua, Italy c. 1305
 For Study and Discussion
Acting as a docent, discuss the salient characteristics of Gothic art evident in the painting of "Christ on the Road to Calvary," by Simone Martini, from about 1340: