Thursday, May 2, 2013

Gothic Architecture

Gothic architecture was developed in first half of the 12th century.
It was developed first in the north Europe.

At first it begun on small part of the Paris. About a hundred years later it spread over the entire France.
You could say that the France is "the crib" of Gothic architect style.

Some characteristic of the Gothic style:

Gothic cathedral was in center of the city (usually) and was the most important building. It was taller than any other. The entire city was building it.
A characteristic of Gothic church architecture is its height, both absolute and in proportion to its width, the verticality suggesting an aspiration to Heaven. A section of the main body of a Gothic church usually shows the nave as considerably taller than it is wide. In England the proportion is sometimes greater than 2:1, while the greatest proportional difference achieved is at Cologne Cathedral with a ratio of 3.6:1. The highest internal vault is at Beauvais Cathedral at 48 metres (157 ft).
One of the most distinctive characteristics of Gothic architecture is the expansive area of the windows as at Sainte Chapelle and the very large size of many individual windows, as at York Minster, Gloucester Cathedral and Milan Cathedral. The increase in size between windows of the Romanesque and Gothic periods is related to the use of the ribbed vault, and in particular, the pointed ribbed vault which channeled the weight to a supporting shaft with less outward thrust than a semicircular vault. Walls did not need to be so weighty.

The façade of a large church or cathedral, often referred to as the West Front, is generally designed to create a powerful impression on the approaching worshipper, demonstrating both the might of God and the might of the institution that it represents. One of the best known and most typical of such façades is that of Notre Dame de Paris.
Central to the façade is the main portal, often flanked by additional doors. In the arch of the door, the tympanum, is often a significant piece of sculpture, most frequently Christ in Majesty and Judgment Day. If there is a central door jamb or a trumeau, then it frequently bears a statue of the Madonna and Child. There may be much other carving, often of figures in niches set into the mouldings around the portals, or in sculptural screens extending across the façade.
Above the main portal there is generally a large window, like that at York Minster, or a group of windows such as those at Ripon Cathedral. In France there is generally a rose window like that at Reims Cathedral. Rose windows are also often found in the façades of churches of Spain and Italy, but are rarer elsewhere and are not found on the façades of any English Cathedrals. The gable is usually richly decorated with arcading or sculpture or, in the case of Italy, may be decorated with the rest of the façade, with polychrome marble and mosaic, as at Orvieto Cathedral.
The West Front of a French cathedral and many English, Spanish and German cathedrals generally has two towers, which, particularly in France, express an enormous diversity of form and decoration. However some German cathedrals have only one tower located in the middle of the façade (such as Freiburg Münster).

                                                                       Notre Dame de Paris.


The distinctive characteristic of French cathedrals, and those in Germany and Belgium that were strongly influenced by them, is their height and their impression of verticality. Each French cathedral tends to be stylistically unified in appearance when compared with an English cathedral where there is great diversity in almost every building. They are compact, with slight or no projection of the transepts and subsidiary chapels. The west fronts are highly consistent, having three portals surmounted by a rose window, and two large towers. Sometimes there are additional towers on the transept ends. The east end is polygonal with ambulatory and sometimes a chevette of radiating chapels. In the south of France, many of the major churches are without transepts and some are without aisles.

Interior of Amiens Cathedral, France.


The distinctive characteristic of English cathedrals is their extreme length, and their internal emphasis upon the horizontal, which may be emphasised visually as much or more than the vertical lines. Each English cathedral (with the exception of Salisbury) has an extraordinary degree of stylistic diversity, when compared with most French, German and Italian cathedrals. It is not unusual for every part of the building to have been built in a different century and in a different style, with no attempt at creating a stylistic unity. Unlike French cathedrals, English cathedrals sprawl across their sites, with double transepts projecting strongly and Lady Chapels tacked on at a later date. In the west front, the doors are not as significant as in France, the usual congregational entrance being through a side porch. The West window is very large and never a rose, which are reserved for the transept gables. The west front may have two towers like a French Cathedral, or none. There is nearly always a tower at the crossing and it may be very large and surmounted by a spire. The distinctive English east end is square, but it may take a completely different form. Both internally and externally, the stonework is often richly decorated with carvings, particularly the capitals.

The longitudinal emphasis in the nave of Wells is typically English

Most Gothic churches, unless they are entitled chapels, are of the Latin cross (or "cruciform") plan, with a long nave making the body of the church, a transverse arm called the transept and, beyond it, an extension which may be called the choir, chancel or presbytery. There are several regional variations on this plan.
The nave is generally flanked on either side by aisles, usually single, but sometimes double. The nave is generally considerably taller than the aisles, having clerestory windows which light the central space. Gothic churches of the Germanic tradition, like St. Stephen of Vienna, often have nave and aisles of similar height and are called Hallenkirche. In the South of France there is often a single wide nave and no aisles, as at Sainte-Marie in Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges.
In some churches with double aisles, like Notre Dame, Paris, the transept does not project beyond the aisles. In English cathedrals transepts tend to project boldly and there may be two of them, as at Salisbury Cathedral, though this is not the case with lesser churches.
The eastern arm shows considerable diversity. In England it is generally long and may have two distinct sections, both choir and presbytery. It is often square ended or has a projecting Lady Chapel, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. In France the eastern end is often polygonal and surrounded by a walkway called an ambulatory and sometimes a ring of chapels called a "chevet". While German churches are often similar to those of France, in Italy, the eastern projection beyond the transept is usually just a shallow apsidal chapel containing the sanctuary, as at Florence Cathedral.

The structure of a typical Gothic cathedral.

Plan of Amiens Cathedral.

Plan of Wells Cathedral.

Gothic style influenced Renaissance style a lot. And even today a lot of architects use some of the characteristics from Gothic style when designing.
This period has left us some of the most beautiful buildings of all time.
Specially Notre Dame cathedrals.

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