The Gothic style in architecture developed slowly. Over several centuries masters added new details, strengthened structures, built high arches and vaulted ceilings. Surviving Gothic cathedrals today capture the attention of people around the world. In today’s review Homius will talk about the main elements of the Gothic style and the stages of its formation.
History of the style
Gothic style in architecture was widely developed in the Middle Ages in XII-XVI centuries. Historians consider the northern France to be the homeland of this architectural style. Gradually Gothic spread throughout Western, Eastern, Central and partly Northern Europe replacing a popular at the time Romanesque style. The new trend was used in the construction of churches, monasteries, and temples.
Signs of Gothic architecture:
- high spires on roofs;
- pointed arches and half arches in stone;
- the “rose” on the facade;
- elongated, pointed windows with stained glass:
- narrow towers pointing upward.
All details of a Gothic building are upward.
Periods in the development of Gothic architecture in the world
In the central part of Eastern and Northern Europe the Gothic style was formed in several stages: from XI to XII centuries and from XV to XVI centuries. Buildings built during this period, even today are considered “frightening and majestic.
In the thirteenth century, the Gothic style actively spread throughout Europe. Beautiful and majestic cathedrals were built in England, Austria, Bohemia and Germany.
Development of Gothic style in XII-XIII centuries
Cathedrals during the Early Gothic period were built in Paris, Lyon and Chartres. The architectural composition of these structures is characterized by perfection, rich, exquisite decor and a special rhythm.
Late Gothic: changes in style from the 14th to 15th centuries
With the passage of time new elements in the Gothic style appeared, and by the XIV-XV centuries secular subjects began to be actively used in wall paintings.
The main elements of the style: frameworks, arches and vaults
The simplest type of Gothic structure is the star vault. It began to be used at a time when there was a need to create a large square slab and strengthen the structure. Additionally, the cross vault was provided with ribs and ribs.
The compositional basis for the vaults was developed by the builder of St. Vitus Cathedral in the 14th century. Thereafter, star vaults and grid vaults became widespread in English Gothic.
In large cathedrals, arcaboutans – one or two tiers – were used to create a secure structure. Especially often the two-tier system was used in the construction of five-nave cathedrals.
Mosaic windows in Gothic architecture
Stained glass windows are the main feature of Gothic cathedrals. They were used to close openings, create through illumination, as well as perform decorative functions. Many buildings depict Christian themes in stained glass windows.
During the Renaissance, a special method of making stained glass windows was used: masters scraped pre-painted glass, creating a beautiful drawing on domestic or religious themes.
The technology of building arkbutans, buttresses and portals
Any Gothic structure has a strong frame structure. The main task of the frame is to strengthen the building, to lighten the heavy ceilings and walls. After the creation of the frame structure, the masters of the Middle Ages were able to erect tall cathedrals of unusual shape.
The main elements of the framework:
Frames began to be distributed evenly around the entire perimeter of the building, so Gothic churches got a memorable “skeleton” and a reliable support. Nervous vaults have many advantages: reduced construction time, increased illumination inside the building and the unification of all the halls of the temple into one.
On the outside, Gothic cathedrals were reinforced by arkbutans, stone arches that transferred pressure from the naves to the supporting pillars.
Another architectural element is the buttress. It is a vertical structure that is installed opposite to the vaults and takes some of the pressure off them with its weight.
Famous architectural structures in the Gothic style
Around the world there are several most famous and frequently visited Gothic architecture: St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Burgos Cathedral in Spain, Milan Cathedral in Milan, Notre Dame in Paris, Cologne Cathedral in Germany.
Gothic in England and France
Gothic as an architectural style originated in the north of France. It reached its dawn in XIII century. The main Gothic building at that time was the Benedictine monastery with the library on 570 books. The second major cathedral in France was the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris.
In England, unlike in other countries, Gothic appeared early and lasted until the fourteenth century. Salisbury Cathedral became one of the examples of English Gothic, but Canterbury Cathedral became the national shrine and residence of the bishop. British Gothic is divided into several periods: English Gothic, geometric-curvilinear and perpendicular.
Famous churches and cathedrals of Bohemia in the Czech Republic
In the Czech Republic, Gothic appeared much later than in other countries. When this style had already gained great popularity in Germany and France, the builders of Bohemia had just begun to use Gothic elements. At first they were mixed with the Romanesque style, and only by the 13th century were they widespread.
There were no major cities in Bohemia in the twelfth century, so the development of the Gothic style was slow.
Gothic buildings in Germany and Spain
Gothic in Germany developed under the direct influence of France. Among the most significant structures researchers distinguish the Chapel of St. Bartholomew, Cologne Cathedral, the Church of St. Michael in Lower Saxony. Gradually the Gothic style in Germany acquired power and its own characteristic features.
The art of ornamentation was brought to Spain by the Arabs. Among the largest Gothic buildings in Europe is the cathedral at Toledo. The foundation of the cathedral was laid in 1227. The peculiarity of the construction is five naves and elements of the French Gothic style.
What is Neo-Gothic
Neo-Gothic is a new current in the age of historicism. Buildings in this style use Gothic elements combined with modern structures. Such buildings were built in Manila, Kiev, Guangzhou, New York.
The members of the aristocratic families ordered the construction of houses in the neo-Gothic style.
Construction of modern cottages in Gothic style
Today, the construction of houses in the Gothic and pseudo-Gothic style is not as widespread, but still going on. A modern Gothic style house can have beautiful architectural elements, and stylish room design.
Some construction studios provide a service “Build a Gothic style cottage”. Such houses are built only by individual order and always attract a lot of attention from passers-by.