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Gothic. Gothic: applied primarily to architecture, as well as some painting and sculpture produced in W. Europe from the mid 1100’s – 1500’s in France.

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Presentation on theme: "Gothic. Gothic: applied primarily to architecture, as well as some painting and sculpture produced in W. Europe from the mid 1100’s – 1500’s in France."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gothic

2 Gothic: applied primarily to architecture, as well as some painting and sculpture produced in W. Europe from the mid 1100’s – 1500’s in France and some parts of Europe. Term was first used by Italians to denigrate the art preceding their own Renaissance style. Literally, Gothic = Germanic tribes who invaded Greece and Italy and sacked Rome in 410. Goths were blamed for destroying what remained of the Classical style. Origins: – originated in Ile – de – France, region in N. France that was the personal domain of the French Royal Family. The credit for the style goes to one remarkable man, Abbot Suger. Suger conceived a plan to enlarge and rebuild the 8 th century Carolingian church of Saint-Denis. He searched for a new kind of architecture to reinforce the kings authority and enhance the spirituality of his church. Suger was preoccupied with light (Christ is the light of the world), he rearranged the elements of architecture to express the relationship between light and God’s presence. The elements are not new but the arrangement was revolutionary.

3 Saint-Denis, near Paris, designed by Abbot Suger, dedicated 1140, the birthplace of the gothic cathedral. Cathedral = located in a city, grows up from the city streets, height speaks to faith and prosperity of the city, seat of a Bishop Church/Chapel = smaller, located in a rural setting Retained basic elements of the Romanesque pilgrimage choir for large crowds

4 Rib vaults: ribs constructed first and could be filled in with a lighter material making the load on the piers and columns lighter. This also allows for greater height and larger windows.

5 Arrangement of chapels is a formal echo of the ambulatory. There is a new sense of architectural unity. Chevet (east end of church comprising of the choir, ambulatory and apse)


7 Chartres Cathedral, France, 13 th century Compound piers (engaged cluster colonnettes and pilasters)

8 Flying Buttresses: the fliers are located at the same area as the compound piers on the interior.

9 Jeroboam worshipping golden calves, detail of lancet under north rose window, Chartres Cathedral

10 Chartres Cathedral, towers show evolution of gothic from 1100’s to 1300’s. Façade has stringcourses, three portals topped with three lancets and a rose window, a row of niches holding statues of the apostles, and a gable roof with a niche of the virgin and child

11 Aerial view of Chartres, notice the flying buttresses and the grandeur of scale compared to the town below

12 East end apse of Chartres, radiating chapels


14 Sketchbook of Villard de Honnecourt, master builders worked from templates, they would keep records in their sketchbook. This is one of the only known surviving sketchbook. Shown are both tools and shape templates for architecture and sculpture.

15 Elevation plan; nave, bay, south façade, plan of bay

16 West Royal Portal, Chartres, Central tympanum = second coming; on right, Nativity and childhood of Jesus, seven liberal arts on archivolts; on left, scenes of Ascension, signs of zodiac

17 Christ in majesty, surrounded by 4 symbols of evangelists; lintel are 12 apostles, 4 groups of 3 in arches, flanked by a single angel on each end; 24 elders and angels are on the archivolts, two angels in center hold a crown over Christ

18 Door jamb statues, west façade, Kings and Queens of the Old Testament, stylized fabric, feet on slant defying natural stance, more free from background, separated by floral bands, on the level with visitors

19 Stylized fabric, geometric patterning

20 South transept, Saints Theodore, Stephen, Clement, and Lawrence, 13 th century, Conform less strictly than figures on royal portal, feet rest naturally on a horizontal plane, stand in contrapposto, different heights, facial expressions, clothing personalized, shows a renewal in the human figure (differentiation from Early to High Gothic)

21 Teaching Christ, trumeau, south transept, Chartres Cathedral, 13 th century, Christ’s earthly role as a teacher, reflected by the book in his left hand, right hand is in the sign of blessing, He is standing on a lion and a dragon which symbolizes Satan and the Antichrist; Christ’s position on top of them shows his victory over forces of evil

22 Hildegard of Bingen, Antichrist’s Birth and Destruction, Liber scivias 3.11, Codex 1, from Eibington Abbey, 12 th century, The antichrist is not Satan but a final enemy or last emperor, described as having a huge stature, blood shot eyes, white eyelashes, pointed hair, gigantic teeth, sickle shaped fingers, and a double skull.

23 Golden Haggadah, The Plagues of Egypt, c C.E., near Barcelona, Illuminated Manuscript A haggadah is a collection of Jewish prayers and readings written to accompany the Passover 'seder', a ritual meal eaten on the eve of the Passover festival. The ritual meal was formalised during the 2nd century, after the example of the Greek 'symposium', in which philosophical debate was fortified by food and wine. The holy text is written on vellum pages in Hebrew script, reading from right to left. Its stunning miniatures illustrate stories from the biblical books of 'Genesis' and 'Exodus' and scenes of Jewish ritual.

24 Golden Haggadah, Scenes of Liberation, c C.E. Illuminated Manuscript

25 Golden Haggadah, Preparation for Passover, c C.E. Illuminated Manuscript

26 Nave and side aisle of Chartres, Ground elevation, nave arcade – defined by a series of large arches on heavy piers; second elevation, triforium – a narrow passageway above the side aisle; at the top, clerestory, windows are main source of light in the nave.

27 Rose window and lancets on the north transept, rose window measures over 42 feet, lancets are taller and thinner than west portal lancets, Virgin and Christ in center circle, surrounded by 12 smaller circles, 4 doves, 8 angels; 12 squares with the 12 Old Test. Kings; 12 quatrefoils contain gold lilies (sign of French royalty); outer semicircles represent 12 Old Test. prophets. Central lancet = Saint Anne with Virgin Mary infant; on left are high priest Melchizedek and King David; on right are King Solomon and the priest Aaron

28 West façade of Amiens Cathedral, France , three architects worked on this cathedral, built on the site of another church that burned down. Conceived from the beginning as a Gothic church so more unified and symmetrical. Each feature is now concerned with height and carrying the viewer’s eye upward.


30 Beau Dieu (“Beautiful God”) – carved in deeper relief than the “Teaching Christ” from Chartres, right arm is more extended, hemline is no longer horizontal, creates more open space and fluid movement, standing on a lion and a basilisk

31 Vierge Doree (“Gilded Virgin”) – carved 20 years after Beau Dieu, more independent of architecture background, more human than iconic; although crowned queen of heaven, looks at son rather than viewer, holds Jesus on her left hip showing a shift in body weight; combines a monumental form with a very personal intimate depiction of mother and child

32 Amiens cathedral nave reached 144 feet

33 Amiens ribbed vaults, flooded with light from the clerestory windows

34 Elevation of Amiens, just to show scale, do you see the two people in the bottom right corner?

35 Reims Cathedral, west façade, France, 1211, Window space has been increased due to the improvements in buttressing, ex. Tympanums are now filled with glass, portals are no longer recessed into the façade but are built outward from it. Taller, thinner, radiating chapels are deeper than at Chartres, transepts are stubby and almost blend in with the nave showing little or no break

36 Nave of Reims, looking at west interior of the portal from the eastern apse. The door and tympanum rose window are flanked by statues set in individual niches.

37 Notice the stubby transept and deeper radiating chapels, still has an ambulatory around the altar area.

38 Annunciation and Visitation, door jamb statues at Reims, c , on left is Mary and Gabriel, on right are Mary and Elizabeth, do you notice anything telling about the height of their pedestals? What about the differences in drapery between the two pairs?

39 1. Notre Dame 2. Chartres 3. Reims 4. Amiens Many cathedrals of the time were dedicated to the Virgin Mary “Notre Dame” – (Our Lady), because of this we recognize the cathedrals by the cities they are located in.

40 Gothic Architecture and Scholasticism: a book written by Erwin Panofsky, art historian, in Showed the way Scholasticism influenced the Gothic style in terms of its hierarchical system. (see page 433) “Scholasticism was a philosophical method combined with theology. It was designed to explain spiritual truth by a kind of inquiry based on analogy. Above all, it was an effort to reconcile faith and reason.” pg.434 Logic/Reason vs. Faith Foundations set down by Saint Augustine’s juxtaposition of the Earthly and the Heavenly cities (see pg. 413) mother was Christian, father was pagan, fought between the two until his acceptance and baptism into Christianity. He argued that, although understanding can precede faith, faith leads to understanding. Scholasticism was summed up at its peak in the Summa theologiae by Thomas Aquinas (c ) influenced by Aristotelian logic, discussed doctrine according to a system of argument, counterargument and solution, established the relationship between faith and reason, concluded that, far from being at odds, one actually complements the other.

41 Life of Saint Denis, 1317, Book illumination, commissioned during the reign of Philip IV (the Fair), contains 27 illuminations of the life of Saint Denis, in this scene he asks two others to write his biography, the grand frame is a symbol of the church itself with the vines = reference to Christ, St. Denis on a lion throne = King Solomon, at the bottom are various scenes of a coach entering the city gates, a doctor checking a patient’s urine sample, and a wine taster and two men completing a commercial transaction Travel, medicine and trade are among the transient daily lives.

42 Blanche of Castile and King Louis IX of France; Author Dictating to a Scribe Moralized Bible, France, probably Paris, c. 1230, 14 3/4 x 10 1/4 inches

43 Rottgen Pieta (1300) Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn, by unknown carver This painted wooden sculpture of Mary holding the distorted body of Christ is extremely emotionally provoking. The face of Mary does not appear in its usual calm state, but one that is actively mourning. The sound of her crying is almost audible. Christ's body is completely misshapen, showing his past suffering and further driving home the intensity of his sacrifice. Gardner's Art Through the Ages seems to believe that this piece of sculpture speaks to the troubles of the area in which it was carved. Germany was going through many widespread difficulties during the 14th century and this piece could have been used to remind them of ultimate salvation but to also align their suffering with that of a nobler individual.

44 Nave of Saint-Chapelle, Paris, , designed by Thomas de Cormont, who also worked on Ameins, it was the chapel of the French Kings, located on the Ile de la Cite, and attached to the palace. Transcendent quality of Gothic light is evident; epitomizes rayonnant style, wall literally becomes glass, stone supports diminish, no transept, distinction between lower darkness and upper light – light of heaven vs. darkness of hell

45 Saint Chapelle, Paris, lower chapel, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, ceiling is painted blue with stars in the shape of fleur-de-lis, symbol of the French Kings; reliquary church, holds true cross, crown of thorns, lance, sponge and a nail

46 Choir, Canterbury Cathedral, Kent (SE England) 1174 – 1184; since the Norman invasion of 1066 there have been stable commercial, cultural, and political contacts between France and England. England was the first to adopt the Gothic style. Original church was built in Norman style, fire in 1174 destroyed the choir, a French architect was summoned to rebuild the choir and apse (William of Sens, died 5 years into project from a 50 foot fall) Increased the number of piers by 6 and made the columns taller by 12 feet which drew more attention to the elaborate capitals and the use of different colored marble and stones. William the Englishman resumed the construction after the death of William of Sens, he added two shrines, the Trinity and Corona chapels for Thomas a Becket.

47 Exterior of Canterbury Cathedral Becket was an archbishop who was a close friend to Henry the II. His allegiances changed and sided with the church regarding taxation and jurisdiction, thus enraging the king. It is said that Henry exclaimed will no one rid me of this low-born priest. Four knights rode to Canterbury and killed Becket. His scalp is housed in the Corona chapel and his remains are in the Trinity chapel. His murder made his an object of pilgrimage.

48 Plan of Canterbury

49 Corona Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral

50 [T] Jonah cast onto Dry Land; [L] Return of the Dove to Noah in the Ark; [C] The Resurrection; [R] David and Michal; [B] Moses and the Burning Bush; details from the Redemption Window, Corona Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral, early 13th century

51 [T] Moses and the Burning Bush; [R] Jonah Cast into the Sea; [C] Entombment of Christ; details from the Redemption Window, Corona Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral, early 13th century

52 Salisbury Cathedral, England, begun 1220, tower and spire were added in 14 th century More varied than French Gothic, has a cloister taken from monastery plans, in contrast to French – it has a double transept and square apse. The chapter house is octagonal. Also characteristically different, this cathedral is surrounded by green, trees and grass, rather than springing up from the busy city streets.

53 Plan of Salisbury Cathedral

54 Fan Vault, chapter house, Salisbury Cathedral, , there are fewer stained glass windows and therefore less need for exterior buttressing. Central pier fans out like the underside of an umbrella: fan vault.

55 King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, England, chapel founded in 1441, vaulting design by John Wastrell in , fan vaulting became characteristic of English Gothic; this is one of the more spectacular examples of fan vaulting. Tall unbroken supports exemplify the late Perpendicular style.

56 Detail of stained glass at King’s College

57 The Spread of Gothic Siena Cathedral, Tuscany, Italy, Continuation of Italian Romanesque that was influenced by French Gothic, Façade was designed by Giovanni Pisano, whose father will be discussed in pre-renaissance. Retain the stripes of different color marble but general organization is gothic. Three portals, arches are pointed under triangle gables, rose window dominates the central façade; unlike French – most of the sculpture is on the tympanums

58 Milan Cathedral, Italy 1386, largest Italian Gothic cathedral, massive structure balanced with delicate surface decoration

59 Milan Cathedral, Italy 1386

60 Palma de Mallorca Cathedral, on the Spanish island of Mallorca, begun in 1306, looms over the sea, notable for its huge buttresses and Islamic influences on the main entrance

61 Palma de Mallorca Cathedral, on the Spanish island of Mallorca


63 Apse, Prague Cathedral, Czech Republic, central Europe; vertical emphasis of the pinnacled buttresses and radiating chapels

64 Doges’ Palace, Venice Italy, façade dates from the 1420’s, one of the few secular pieces from this chapter, palace of a senator, pointed arches, lobed windows,

65 Trials took place in the Doge’s palace complex. The verdict would be announced to the assembly below in St. Mark’s square from between the two red marble columns. The prisoners were then taken across the Bridge of Sighs to the prisons adjacent to the palace.

66 The Bridge of Sighs

67 Town Hall, Louvain, Belgium, 1448, three towers (third is over central gable)

68 Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, NYC, , spires 1888 designed by James Renwick and William Bodrigue, cruciform plan, west to east orientation, pointed arches



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