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These manuscripts provide a record of styles in the places where no monumental works have survived. Illuminated P letter in the Malmesbury Bible.

The script is a black letter, also known as Gothic script. In general, religious art had a better survival rate than some equivalent arts, and a large proportion of the art realized in that period was commissioned by the church or by the laity. Some monastic orders, like the Cistercians and the Carthusians, disseminated distinctive styles of Gothic art in buildings all over Europe.

Even if in the late 14 th century evolved a universal style named International Gothic evolved and continued in the late 15 th century , many regional variations of the style remained important. Yes, of course! Gothic art never really disappeared! Artists still use some of the features of the Gothic Style today. In some design works, the Gothic style is mainly used as inspiration to create unnatural creatures with masculine, forceful, tough, gloomy, sinister, and mysterious traits.

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Gothic art — Google Arts & Culture

Image Source. The Gothic Style was inspirational even for musicians. The main characteristics of this movement is the combination of dark, sometimes keyboard-heavy music with depressing and introspective lyrics. The beginning of Gothic rock gave birth to a broader goth subculture, which included fashion, clubs, publications, posters, CD covers and much more. Music is highly influential over people, and the members of the Goth subculture created their own clothing style. The typical Gothic fashion includes black lips and black clothes, black dyed and crimped hair, for both female and male representatives.

Other clothing articles include short or very long skirts, high heels, black corsets for girls. Even some fashion designers have been inspired by the Gothic Style.

Gothic Art

Here are some examples of their work:. Geographic From the 10th to the 13th century, Romanesque architecture had become a pan-European style and manner of construction, affecting buildings in countries as far apart as Ireland and Croatia, and Sweden and Sicily. The same wide geographic area was then affected by the development of Gothic architecture, but the acceptance of the Gothic style and methods of construction differed from place to place, as did the expressions of Gothic taste.

The proximity of some regions meant that modern country borders did not define divisions of style. On the other hand, some regions such as England and Spain produced defining characteristics rarely seen elsewhere, except where they have been carried by itinerant craftsmen, or the transfer of bishops.

Introduction to Gothic Art

For example, studies of the population statistics reveals disparities such as the multitude of churches, abbeys, and cathedrals in northern France while in more urbanised regions construction activity of a similar scale was reserved to a few important cities. This wealth, concentrated in rich monasteries and noble families, would eventually spread certain Italian, Catalan, and Hanseatic bankers. This would be amended when the economic hardships of the 13th century were no longer felt, allowing Normandy, Tuscany, Flanders, and the southern Rhineland to enter into competition with France.

What is Gothic art?

The local availability of materials affected both construction and style. In France, limestone was readily available in several grades, the very fine white limestone of Caen being favoured for sculptural decoration. England had coarse limestone and red sandstone as well as dark green Purbeck marble which was often used for architectural features.

In northern Germany, Netherlands, northern Poland, Denmark, and the Baltic countries local building stone was unavailable but there was a strong tradition of building in brick. The style is also associated with the Hanseatic League. In Italy, stone was used for fortifications, so brick was preferred for other buildings.


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The availability of timber also influenced the style of architecture, with timber buildings prevailing in Scandinavia. Availability of timber affected methods of roof construction across Europe. It is thought that the magnificent hammerbeam roofs of England were devised as a direct response to the lack of long straight seasoned timber by the end of the Medieval period, when forests had been decimated not only for the construction of vast roofs but also for ship building.

Possible Eastern influence The pointed arch, one of the defining attributes of Gothic, was earlier incorporated into Islamic architecture following the Islamic conquests of Roman Syria and the Sassanid Empire in the 7th century. The pointed arch and its precursors had been employed in Late Roman and Sassanian architecture; within the Roman context, evidenced in early church building in Syria and occasional secular structures, like the Roman Karamagara Bridge; in Sassanid architecture, in the parabolic and pointed arches employed in palace and sacred construction.

Use of the pointed arch seems to have taken off dramatically after its incorporation into Islamic architecture. It begins to appear throughout the Islamic world in close succession after its adoption in the late Umayyad or early Abbasid period. A number of scholars have cited the Armenian Cathedral of Ani, completed or , as a possible influence on the Gothic, especially due to its use of pointed arches and cluster piers.

However, other scholars such as Sirarpie Der Nersessian, who rejected this notion as she argued that the pointed arches did not serve the same function of supporting the vault.

1150 - 1375

Lucy Der Manuelian contends that some Armenians historically documented as being in Western Europe in the Middle Ages could have brought the knowledge and technique employed at Ani to the west. The view held by the majority of scholars however is that the pointed arch evolved naturally in Western Europe as a structural solution to a technical problem, with evidence for this being its use as a stylistic feature in Romanesque French and English churches. Romanesque tradition Main article: Romanesque architecture By the 12th century, Romanesque architecture, termed Norman Gothic in England, was established throughout Europe and provided the basic architectural forms and units that were to remain in evolution throughout the Medieval period.

The important categories of building: the cathedral, parish church, monastery, castle, palace, great hall, gatehouse, and civic building had been established in the Romanesque period. Many architectural features that are associated with Gothic architecture had been developed and used by the architects of Romanesque buildings, but not fully exploited. These include ribbed vaults, buttresses, clustered columns, ambulatories, wheel windows, spires, stained glass windows, and richly carved door tympana. These features, namely the rib vault and the pointed arch, had been used since the late 11th century in Southern Italy, Durham, and Picardy.

It was principally the widespread introduction of a single feature, the pointed arch, which was to bring about the change that separates Gothic from Romanesque. The technological change permitted a stylistic change which broke the tradition of massive masonry and solid walls penetrated by small openings, replacing it with a style where light appears to triumph over substance.

With its use came the development of many other architectural devices, previously put to the test in scattered buildings and then called into service to meet the structural, aesthetic and ideological needs of the new style. These include the flying buttresses, pinnacles and traceried windows which typify Gothic ecclesiastical architecture. Transition from Romanesque to Gothic architecture Gothic architecture did not emerge from a dying Romanesque tradition, but from a Romanesque style at the height of its popularity, and it would supplant it for many years.

This shift in style beginning in the mid 12th century came about in an environment of much intellectual and political development as the Catholic Church began to grow into a very powerful political entity. Another transition made by Gothic was the move from the rural monasteries of the Romanesque into urban environments with new Gothic churches built in wealthy cities by secular clergy knowing full well the growing unity and power of the Church.

The characteristic forms that were to define Gothic architecture grew out of Romanesque architecture and developed at several different geographic locations, as the result of different influences and structural requirements. While barrel vaults and groin vaults are typical of Romanesque architecture, ribbed vaults were used in many later Romanesque churches.

The typical elevation of a Gothic cathedral interior , with storey upon corresponding storey, draws the gaze to the highest point in the vault, in an irresistible upward pull symbolic of the Christian hope of leaving the terrestrial world for a heavenly realm. Such a transcendent experience of architecture is reinforced by the rich stained-glass windows , sometimes spanning the entire height of the edifice.

Throughout the thirteenth century, an obligatory feature in most cathedrals was the monumental rose-window with God, Christ, or the Virgin at its center surrounded by the cosmos. The shimmering, colored light called to mind the heavenly Jerusalem described in the Book of Revelations the Apocalypse as a city of gold and precious stones. The Last Judgment often carved on the tympanum of the main portal was a stark reminder of the solemnity of the space the faithful were about to enter.

It is on the west facade of Saint-Denis , around , that portals were first flanked by standing figures, known as jamb statues Head of King David, With their insatiable demand for figurative sculptures to adorn portals, archivolts, tympanums, choir screens Head of an Angel, Teams of sculptors labored for years on the decoration of a cathedral, before moving to another site, thereby disseminating styles over wide regions.

Some of the sculptors active on the west facade of Reims Cathedral, for example, later contributed to the sculptural program of Bamberg Cathedral, several hundred miles away. The stylistic language first formulated in stone on a monumental scale resonated in other media. In their elongated curved pose and enigmatic smile, the wooden altar angels at The Cloisters Gothic vocabulary gradually permeated all forms of art throughout Europe. Pointed arches, trefoils, quatrelobes, and other architectural ornaments were adopted on metalwork, such as reliquaries and liturgical vessels Subject to regional and temporal variations, Gothic art shaped human perception in Europe for nearly four centuries.

Chapuis, Julien.


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