A History of the Gothic Period of Art and Architecture

2186 words 9 pages
Gothic Art is concerned with the painting, sculpture, architecture, and music characteristic of the second of two great international eras that flourished in western and central Europe during the Middle Ages. Architecture was the most important and original art form during the Gothic period. The principal structural characteristics of Gothic architecture arose out of medieval masons' efforts to solve the problems associated with supporting heavy masonry ceiling vaults over wide spans. The problem was that the heavy stonework of the traditional arched barrel vault and the groin vault exerted a tremendous downward and outward pressure that tended to push the walls upon which the vault rested outward, thus collapsing them. A building's …show more content…
High Gothic
During the period from about 1250 to 1300 European art was dominated for the first time by the art and architecture of France. The reasons for this are not clear, although it seems certain that they are connected with the influence of the court of King Louis IX (1226-70).By about 1220-30 it must have been clear that engineering expertise had pushed building sizes to limits beyond which it was unsafe to go. The last of these gigantic buildings, Beauvais cathedral, had a disastrous history, which included the collapse of its vaults, and it was never completed. In about 1230 architects became less interested in size and more interested in decoration. The result was the birth of what is known as the Rayonnant style (from the radiating character of the rose windows, which were one of its most prominent features). The earliest moves in this direction were at Amiens cathedral, where the choir triforium and clerestory were begun after 1236, and at Saint-Denis , where transepts and nave were begun after 1231. Architects opened up as much of the wall surface as possible, producing areas of glazing that ran from the top of the main arcade to the apex of the vault. The combination of the triforium gallery and clerestory into one large glazed area had, of course, a unifying effect on the elevations. It produced an intricate play of tracery patterns and

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