46 Facts About Gothic architecture


Gothic architecture is an architectural style that was prevalent in Europe from the late 12th to the 16th century, during the High and Late Middle Ages, surviving into the 17th and 18th centuries in some areas.

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Gothic architecture is known as pointed architecture or ogival architecture.

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Gothic architecture decidedly broke with tradition in his assumption that Gothic architecture did not merely represent a violent and bothersome mistake, as suggested by Vasari.

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Rather, he saw that the Gothic architecture style had developed over time along the lines of a changing society, and that it was thus a legitimate architectural style in and of its own.

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Wren much preferred symmetry and straight lines in Gothic architecture, which is why he constantly praised the classic Gothic architecture of 'the Ancients' in his writings.

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Wren claimed the inventors of the Gothic had seen the Saracen architecture during the Crusades, called the Religious war or Holy War, organised by the Normans in the year 1095:.

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Several authors have taken a stance against this allegation, claiming that the Gothic architecture style had most likely filtered into Europe in other ways, for example through Spain or Sicily.

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Gothic style of architecture was strongly influenced by the Romanesque architecture which preceded it; by the growing population and wealth of European cities, and by the desire to express local and national grandeur.

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However many of the elements of Islamic and Armenian architecture that have been cited as influences on Gothic architecture appeared in Late Roman and Byzantine architecture, the most noticeable example being the pointed arch and flying buttress.

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Gothic architecture began in the earlier 12th century in northwest France and England and spread throughout Latin Europe in the 13th century; by 1300, a first "international style" of Gothic had developed, with common design features and formal language.

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However, the first buildings to be considered fully Gothic architecture are the royal funerary abbey of the French kings, the Abbey of Saint-Denis, and the archiepiscopal cathedral at Sens They were the first buildings to systematically combine rib vaulting, buttresses, and pointed arches.

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One example of early Norman Gothic architecture is Bayeux Cathedral where the Romanesque cathedral nave and choir were rebuilt into the Gothic architecture style.

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French Gothic architecture churches were heavily influenced both by the ambulatory and side-chapels around the choir at Saint-Denis, and by the paired towers and triple doors on the western facade.

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Gothic architecture's work was continued by William the Englishman who replaced his French namesake in 1178.

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The first building in the High Gothic architecture was Chartres Cathedral, an important pilgrimage church south of Paris.

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New High Gothic architecture churches competed to be the tallest, with increasingly ambitious structures lifting the vault yet higher.

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The high and thin walls of French Rayonnant Gothic architecture allowed by the flying buttresses enabled increasingly ambitious expanses of glass and decorated tracery, reinforced with ironwork.

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In England, ornamental rib-vaulting and tracery of Decorated Gothic architecture co-existed with, and then gave way to, the perpendicular style from the 1320s, with straightened, orthogonal tracery topped with fan-vaulting.

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Perpendicular Gothic architecture was unknown in continental Europe and unlike earlier styles had no equivalent in Scotland or Ireland.

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Lacey patterns of tracery continued to characterize continental Gothic architecture building, with very elaborate and articulated vaulting, as at St Barbara's, Kutna Hora .

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In certain areas, Gothic architecture continued to be employed until the 17th and 18th centuries, especially in provincial and ecclesiastical contexts, notably at Oxford.

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Gothic architecture survived the early modern period and flourished again in a revival from the late 18th century and throughout the 19th.

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The pointed arch did not originate in Gothic architecture; they had been employed for centuries in the Near East in pre-Islamic as well as Islamic architecture for arches, arcades, and ribbed vaults.

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Flamboyant Gothic architecture style was particularly known for such lavish pointed details as the arc-en-accolade, where the pointed arch over a doorway was topped by a pointed sculptural ornament called a fleuron and by pointed pinnacles on either side.

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An important feature of Gothic architecture was the flying buttress, a half-arch outside the building which carried the thrust of weight of the roof or vaults inside over a roof or an aisle to a heavy stone column.

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In later periods of Gothic architecture, pointed needle-like spires were often added to the towers, giving them much greater height.

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The Campanile of Florence Cathedral was built by Giotto in the Florentine Gothic architecture style, decorated with encrustations of polychrome marble.

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Second Pointed Gothic architecture deployed tracery in highly decorated fashion known as Curvilinear and Flowing .

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Third Pointed or Perpendicular Gothic architecture developed in England from the later 14th century and is typified by Rectilinear tracery .

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Gothic style of architecture was strongly influenced by the Romanesque architecture which preceded it; by the growing population and wealth of European cities, and by the desire to express national grandeur.

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Transepts were usually short in early French Gothic architecture, but became longer and were given large rose windows in the Rayonnant period.

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Gothic architecture was a continual search for greater height, thinner walls, and more light.

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In Early Gothic architecture, following the model of the Romanesque churches, the buildings had thick, solid walls with a minimum of windows in order to give enough support for the vaulted roofs.

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The increasing height of cathedrals over the Gothic architecture period was accompanied by an increasing proportion of the wall devoted to windows, until, by the late Gothic architecture, the interiors became like cages of glass.

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Gothic architecture facades were adapted from the model of the Romanesque facades.

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Italian Gothic architecture facades have the three traditional portals and rose windows, or sometimes simply a large circular window without tracery plus an abundance of flamboyant elements, including sculpture, pinnacles and spires.

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Gothic architecture broke away from the French emphasis on height, and eliminated the column statutes and statuary in the arched entries, and covered the facade with colourful mosaics of biblical scenes .

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Gothic architecture added sculpture in relief on the supporting contreforts.

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In Early Gothic architecture churches, following the Romanesque tradition, sculpture appeared on the facade or west front in the triangular tympanum over the central portal.

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Besides saints and apostles, the exteriors of Gothic architecture churches were decorated with sculptures of a variety of fabulous and frightening grotesques or monsters.

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Gothic architecture style was used in royal and papal residences as well as in churches.

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Gothic architecture style was adopted in the late 13th to 15th centuries in early English university buildings, with inspiration coming from monasteries and manor houses.

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One of the best preserved examples of a Gothic architecture synagogue is the Old New Synagogue in Prague which was completed around 1270 and never rebuilt.

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New Gothic architecture churches built in Paris in this period included Saint-Merri and Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois.

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Gothic architecture style began to be described as outdated, ugly and even barbaric.

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Examples from the High Victorian Gothic architecture period include George Gilbert Scott's design for the Albert Memorial in London, and William Butterfield's chapel at Keble College, Oxford.

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