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Gothic Architecture: the Cathedrals

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1 Gothic Architecture: the Cathedrals
The Height of Middle Age Religion

2 What is ‘gothic’ architecture?
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture. Gothic architecture is the term used to describe building styles between 1200 to Such a large time span meant that a number of styles developed within Gothic architecture and it is common to divide these styles into three sections. The building between 1200 to 1300 is usually referred to as Early English; between 1300 to 1400, the style of building is referred to as Decorated and from 1400 to 1500, it is known as Perpendicular. It is common for major church buildings to show examples from all three of these periods. Gothic architecture is most familiar as the architecture of many of the great cathedrals, abbeys and churches of Europe. It is also the architecture of many castles, palaces, town halls, guild halls, universities and to a less prominent extent, private dwellings.

3 How is it different from Romanesque architecture?
Romanesque architecture proceeded the gothic architectural style. It had rounded arches, so thick walls were needed. The walls had to support all of the roof since there were no pointed arches, ribbed vaults, flying buttresses and other supports. Because of the lacking of support, they had very few or no windows. Also, they could not be built very tall. Therefore, the Romanesque church appeared dreary and dark resembling a castle. Gothic Cathedral Romanesque Cathedral

4 How did the name ‘gothic’ come about?
On June 11, 1144 A.D. just outside of Paris, France the first Gothic Cathedral was completed and dedicated in ceremony. It was the Church of San Danien (Saint Denis) designed by Abbot Suger. Critics scoffed at the appearance because it was unusual and bizarre like no other Cathedral before. The critics called San Danien Gothic naming the churches architectural style after the Goths who were barbarian invaders during the Dark and early Middle Ages. Church of Saint Denis, France

5 What is their purpose? The purpose of building Gothic cathedrals was to build a temple worthy of God. A cathedral is a church which contains a cathedra or a throne for a bishop. In the twelfth century, bishops became independent of the secular power and took their destiny, and that of the Church, into their own hands. The growing power and prestige of the bishops combined with the architectural development and design of the churches. The Gothic Cathedral lifted Medevil minds out of the dirt and darkness of everyday life creating an other-worldly experience. The size and scale of the Cathedral made people experience Heaven vicariously on Earth. The Gothic Cathedral brought ordinary people closer to God literally.

6 Who built and Paid for them?
The master mason was in charge. He was an architect and builder rolled into one. Without him and his workers, the cathedrals would not be possible. An entire town or city would work on the Gothic Cathedral together under the master mason’s supervision. Sometimes it would take more than 100 years to complete the Gothic Cathedral. The costs were immense so everyone in the town or city funded the Cathedral project. Some wealthy people would donate their entire estate and fortune upon their death. A percentage of all Church tithes and offerings also helped fund the project. Since the building process took up to a century the builders were able to acquire large amounts of money.

7 What were they made with?
Originally cathedrals were the homes of Benedictine monks. Inexpensive and readily available materials were used to build them such as timber, usually oak, for the roofs. Stone was used to construct the walls and could come from a variety of English mines. The most common stone used was limestone. In Italy, marble was easily obtained and frequently used. No marble was imported into England during the Gothic period, so English master masons used "Purbeck marble" instead, which wasn’t really marble at all.

8 The 5 major stages of gothic architecture
Romanesque: The roots of Gothic cathedrals lie in the Romanesque style, a catchall term to describe a range of Roman-influenced styles that developed in the 11th and 12th centuries and that can be found in cathedrals such as Saint- Lazare in Autun, France. Early Gothic: Early Gothic cathedrals, such as Notre Dame in Paris, blended traditional Romanesque elements with a new aesthetic that included experimental features such as large rose windows and six-part ribbed vaulted ceilings. High Gothic: The Gothic style reached the apex of engineering and artistry with Chartres Cathedral, which features dramatically sculpted portals, facade towers, and the extensive use of flying buttresses for added support. Late Gothic: During the 14th and 15th centuries, many cathedrals and churches were finished or remodeled in a more "flamboyant" decorative style, reflected in everything from stonework to sculpture to stained glass windows. Neo-Gothic: There was a great revival in the 19th and 20th centuries that blended Gothic elements with more modern architectural styles. One of today's most famous neo-Gothic cathedrals is the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York.

9 Gothic Architectural Innovations
These characteristics define and create the Gothic Cathedral

10 Pointed arches A pointed arch is an arch with a pointed apex. This design redirects the stress line(pressure caused by gravity from above) down to the ground through the columns which allows the engineers to build higher walls.

11 Ribbed vaulting A ribbed vault is made of two intersecting pointed arches. The ribbed vault channels the weight of the ceiling to the columns creating a skeleton so the walls do not have to support the ceiling at all. This allows for thin, tall walls that can be filled with windows.

12 Flying buttresses The flying buttress is a masonry arch extending off the outside of a building, often along the length of the nave of a cathedral, which transfers the thrust of the roof outwards and down to a pier. The pointed arch has a stress point at the top of the column so the flying buttress would be positioned against this stress point supporting the pointed arch from the outside of the Cathedral.

13 The Gothic Cathedral literally becomes the Bible written in light..
Stained glass windows Light was a symbol for God, so by bringing in more light the people were brought closer to God. Light becomes a building material. The Gothic Cathedral literally becomes the Bible written in light.. Stained glass is glass that has been colored by adding metallic salts during its manufacture. The colored glass is crafted into stained glass windows in which small pieces of glass are arranged to form patterns or pictures. The stained glass windows of the Gothic Cathedrals became the multi-media stories of the day depicting narratives from the Bible since most people could not read or write.

14 Gargoyles and Grotesques
A gargoyle or grotesque is a carved human or animal face or figure projecting from the gutter of a building, typically acting as a water spout. When it rained, it would appear that the gargoyles would be spitting water onto the ground. The gargoyle and grotesques of the Gothic Cathedral acted as water spouts and were suppose to frighten away evil spirits from the Cathedral. They also showed humans the evil side of nature and the universe.

15 Pointed Arches Four Basic Designs

16 Depressed arch A depressed arch is achieved by drafting two arcs which rise steeply from each springing point on a small radius and then turn into two arches with a wide radius and much lower springing point. The overall effect produces a grid- like appearance of regular, delicate, rectangular forms.

17 Flamboyant arch The Flamboyant Arch is one that is drafted from four points. The upper part of each main arc turns upwards into a smaller arc and meets at a sharp, flame-like point.

18 Equilateral arch In an equilateral arch, the radius is exactly the width of the opening and the center of each arch coincides with the point from which the opposite arch springs. This gives a wide opening of satisfying proportion useful for doorways, decorative arcades and large windows.

19 Lancet arch Lancet openings are often grouped, usually as a cluster of three or five. Lancet openings may be very narrow and steeply pointed.

20 When building the Gothic Cathedrals, four main characteristics were emphasized—using the architectural innovations—to bring about the overall synthesis of the Gothic style. These characteristics helped create a church which inspired people and brought them closer to God. Light Height Majesty Vertical Emphasis

21 Light In gothic architecture, one of the most distinctive characteristics is the large areas of windows. The structure of them developed from single openings to rich and decorative sculptural designs. They were usually filled with stained glass, creating beautiful pictures and art usually depicting Biblical scenes and themes to look at. This is one of the reasons the cathedrals are so amazing and beautiful.

22 height In the Gothic Cathedral, the height is both absolute and in proportion to its width. A section of the main body is considerably taller than it is wide, though. Different size towers and spires are placed in different positions. In the Cathedrals, they like the size to vary but they will always be large and majestic. The taller the Gothic Cathedral the closer to God the worshiper was and the more impressive the Cathedral was in honor of God. Some Gothic Cathedrals had interior walls almost 200 feet tall.

23 Majesty The front of a cathedral is generally designed to create a powerful impression on the approaching worshipper, demonstrating both the might of god, and the might of the institution it represents. The entrance is a significant piece of the design. They are surrounded with carvings and other marks set into the moldings. These carvings depicted Biblical themes and scenes in the same manor as the stained glass windows.

24 Vertical emphasis In the cathedrals, height is a main focus. The pointed arch creates a suggestion of height. The pointed arch draws the worshipers eyes upward toward the heavens. Its appearance is characteristically enhanced by the architectural features and the decoration of the buildings. On the exterior, the vertical emphasis is expressed by the towers and spires, the buttresses, narrow half-columns called attached shafts, narrow windows, vertical mounding around doors, the sculptures, and the roof line. On the interior, attached shafts and columns meet the ribs of the vault and verticals are repeated throughout the design of the treatment of the windows and in the wall surfaces. This interior height pays homage to God and inspires the worshiper.

25 EXAMPLES OF Regional differences
In France, The cathedrals are compact, with slight or no projection of transepts. 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 include a chevette of radiant chapels. In the south of France, many of the major churches are without transepts and some are without aisles. In England, the cathedrals distinctive characteristics are extreme length and vertical emphasis. It’s not usual 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, but it happened. They project double transepts and the doors usually have an entrance coming from a porch. In the west part, windows are very large and usually have two towers out front, or none. There is nearly always a very large tower at the crossing. The east end can take on many shapes but is usually square. The stonework on the inside and outside have tons of carvings. Other places like Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Italy have different styles and techniques of gothic cathedrals.

26 Cathedral of Our Lady of Amiens—Amiens, France

27 Reims Cathedral--Reims, France

28 Chartres Cathedral—Chartres, France

29 Notre Dame Cathedral—Paris, France

30 Activity #1—Watch Building the Great Cathedrals from PBS
Watch the PBS Nova video Building the Great Cathedrals. This video explains how and why the Gothic Cathedrals were able to be constructed. As you watch the video pay special attention to the architectural innovations which allowed the Gothic Cathedrals to be built and the Gothic Characteristics which embodied this new architectural design. Take notes on the architectural innovations such as the Pointed Arch, Flying Buttress, Ribbed Vault, Stained Glass Windows, Gargoyles and Grotesques, Sculpture, as well as Gothic characteristics of Light, Height, Majesty, and Vertical Emphasis. Also write down questions that you have or things that you may not understand from the video. We will watch the video together as a class.

31 Activity #2—Read additional background information on the Gothic Cathedrals
After first viewing and taking notes on the PBS Nova video Building the Great Cathedrals, and then discussing questions that arose from the video while I also went over the PowerPoint detailing how and why the Gothic Cathedrals were constructed, I would now like you to read through some additional background information focusing on the Gothic Cathedrals. You may want to take a few notes as you read.

32 Activity #3—View the Cathedrals in 3D and detailed pictures
You will be viewing the exterior and interior of four of the most famous and beautiful Gothic Cathedrals. The four Cathedrals that I have selected are Amiens Cathedral in Amiens France, Reims Cathedrals in Reims France, Chartres Cathedral in Chartres France, and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris France. The links below will provide you with opportunities to view each of these four Gothic Cathedrals’ exteriors and interiors with 3D view. They also will provide numerous pictures of the exterior and interior characteristics of each Gothic Cathedral. Click on each link and explore the four Gothic Cathedrals thoroughly. Look for the architectural innovations such as the Pointed Arch, Flying Buttress, Ribbed Vault, Stained Glass Windows, Sculpture such as the Gargoyles and Grotesques, and well as the Gothic characteristics of Light, Height, Majesty, and Vertical Emphasis. When you have thoroughly explored all the links for the four Cathedrals you will be ready to begin the first project.

33 Amiens cathedral Exploration
View these links thoroughly of Amiens Cathedral. Remember to focus on the architectural innovations and the Gothic characteristics. Also, think about how the Cathedral makes you feel on an emotional level from the mindset of a person going there for the first time to worship.

34 Reims Cathedral Exploration
View these links thoroughly of Reims Cathedral. Remember to focus on the architectural innovations and the Gothic characteristics. Also, think about how the Cathedral makes you feel on an emotional level from the mindset of a person going there for the first time to worship. e=1&sortby=name&order=asc

35 Chartres Cathedral Exploration
View these links thoroughly of Chartres Cathedral. Remember to focus on the architectural innovations and the Gothic characteristics. Also, think about how the Cathedral makes you feel on an emotional level from the mindset of a person going there for the first time to worship.

36 Notre Dame Cathedral Exploration
View these links thoroughly of Notre Dame Cathedral. Remember to focus on the architectural innovations and the Gothic characteristics. Also, think about how the Cathedral makes you feel on an emotional level from the mindset of a person going there for the first time to worship , photos/

37 Activity #4—Art Project
Now that you have thoroughly explored Amiens Cathedral, Reims Cathedral, Chartres Cathedral, and Notre Dame Cathedral and you have become experts at navigating through the exploration links to the four Cathedrals above you are ready to complete the Art Project. You will be returning to the exploration links for Amiens, Reims, Chartres, and Notre Dame looking for the following architectural innovations and Gothic characteristics: the Pointed Arches, Flying Buttresses, Ribbed Vaults, Stained Glass Windows, Sculptures, Gargoyles and Grotesques. You are to draw a picture of these innovations and characteristics and give a written description of the importance of each innovation and characteristic. Draw the pictures using the exploration links for Amiens, Reims, Chartres, and Notre Dame which you have already explored. Be specific and write down what Cathedral and where in the Cathedral your drawing of each innovation and characteristic came from. For example when you draw a stained glass window I want to know what Cathedral the window is in, where it is located in the Cathedral, what the picture in the window is about, and what the importance of stained glass windows were to begin with. Try to be this specific with all of the drawings.

38 Activity #5—Journal Writing
Now that you have become somewhat of an expert on Gothic Cathedrals I want you to select one of the four Gothic Cathedrals which you explored in depth for Activity #3 and #4. You will select either Amiens Cathedral, Reims Cathedral, Chartres Cathedral, or Notre Dame Cathedral. You are to write a journal entry using the following guidelines. You are traveling to the Cathedral that you chose for the very first time to worship. When you arrive at the Cathedral you are to describe the exterior and interior of the Cathedral. You need to do this in some detail explaining what you see that you may not have seen in other churches before and why those innovations and characteristics are present. You also need to include psychological and emotional aspects as to how the Gothic Cathedral makes you feel looking at it from the outside and inside. You need to include details, thoughts, observations, opinions, and your overall impression of the Gothic Cathedral from the point of view of a person who has never been to a Gothic Cathedral and who is going to this particular Cathedral to worship and in a tourist capacity simply to see such a architectural marvel. You may use the exploration links for the Cathedral that you choose, and well as the background information readings, the PowerPoint itself, and the PBS Video to complete you Journal Entry. I would like the Journal Entry to be 4 pages in length.


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