Presentation on theme: "Gothic Architecture Medieval Europe. Gothic Cathedrals The Gothic period lasted from the late 1100's to the 1500's. Most Romanesque cathedrals had been."— Presentation transcript:
Gothic Cathedrals The Gothic period lasted from the late 1100's to the 1500's. Most Romanesque cathedrals had been built to replace Early Christian or Carolingian predecessors. Many Gothic cathedrals resulted from additions to a Romanesque church. The desire to enrich an earlier church was a strong motivation behind Gothic cathedral building. Many Romanesque churches were demolished to make way for a cathedral in the new style. As a result, the majority of cathedrals in Europe are Gothic. The main difference between Romanesque and Gothic styles is the way in which space is conceived. Space in Romanesque buildings is achieved by adding bays, unit by unit, to create a total space. A Gothic building is conceived as a total space divided into units. Gothic architecture originated in northern France in the choir of 1140-1144 at the abbey of St. Denis, near Paris. The style spread to the cathedrals of northeastern France, at Laon and Noyon, and beyond. It was used in the choir of Canterbury Cathedral (1174-1184), England, and in the Swiss cathedrals of Lausanne and Geneva before 1200. In about 1175, French cathedral builders developed the flying buttress, a brick or stone arched support built against the outside walls. Because it allowed the major supports for the vault to be taken outside the building, architects were able to construct thin-walled churches with fully vaulted roofs. For the first time, builders were able to substitute beautifully coloured stained glass windows for large areas of wall. Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (1163-1250) was one of the first buildings to have flying buttresses. The exciting combination of Gothic features--pointed arches, ribbed vaults, stained glass, lateral spaciousness, and an interior patterned with a grid of fine lines--was adopted throughout Europe. The use of the flying buttress also allowed architects to build very high. A succession of tall, fully glazed cathedrals was built between 1190 and 1260, including Bourges (37 metres), Chartres (35 metres), Reims (36.5 metres), Amiens (42.4 metres), Beauvais (48 metres), and Cologne (43.5 metres). The collapse of the vaults at Beauvais in 1284 ended this line of architectural exploration. Thereafter, masons of the High Gothic period enriched their architecture by other means. In France, this often took the form of increasingly elaborate window and wall tracery, and ornamental stone or wooden pattern work. Fine examples of tracery are the rose windows at the cathedral of Clermont-Ferrand (about 1280), and the south transept front at Senlis Cathedral.
Gothic Cathedrals (Cont’d) In England, most early Gothic cathedrals made extensive use of Purbeck marble, as at Rochester (choir begun about 1200) and Salisbury (begun 1220). Unlike their French counterparts, English architects stressed surface ornament in preference to stained glass. This is best seen at Lincoln Cathedral, built between 1192 and about 1270. Here, the vaults are richly patterned and the carving is elaborate, but the windows are small and simple. English late Gothic architecture, such as the east face of Wells (1323-1338) and the nave of Canterbury (1379-1405), favours complex mouldings around the arches, ornamental niches and canopies, and the extension of tracery across walls and windows. In Spain, Gothic cathedral building was initially heavily influenced by developments in France. So, although the cathedrals of Avila (begun about 1160), Burgos (begun 1224), and Toledo (begun 1227) have an exuberant Spanish layer of ornament to their upper walls, the great influence of the earlier French experiments is obvious. Indeed, Leon Cathedral (begun about 1254) appears to be a northern French building on Spanish soil. Later Gothic cathedrals in Spain are very different. The work of architects Jaime Fabre (east end of Barcelona Cathedral, 1298-1329), Juan Gil de Hontanon (Salamanca Cathedral, 1512-1538, and Segovia Cathedral, 1522-1558), and Alonso Martinez (Seville Cathedral, 1402-1568), ranks amongst the most distinctive in Europe. In Germany, early Gothic architecture, such as in the choir of Magdeburg Cathedral (begun 1209), also reflects French influence. Cologne Cathedral (begun 1248) is a Parisian design which combines the ground plan of Amiens Cathedral with the fragile tracery and gables of St. Denis and the Sainte Chapelle, Paris. German late Gothic architecture is, by contrast, astonishingly inventive. It favours tall aisles, fancy vaulting patterns, and a very fluid approach to the handling of space. The style was exported throughout central Europe and is seen in cathedrals such as Prague (1344-1399) and Vienna (about 1304-1500).