Origin of Gothic Modern Architecture

Freshman (College 1st year) ・Architecture ・MLA ・4 Sources

Gothic architecture has its origin from the 12th century. It flourished in its era before it became overrun by the renaissance. It was mainly used to construct churches and cathedrals. Goths, who were the bright minds behind the architectural structures, hence it was named after them. The Goths were a primitive tribe that attained their peak of power during the Roman Empire. The Gothic architectural designs succeeded the Romanesque architectural designs, which was also formerly used in the designs of churches and cathedrals. The designs were widely accepted in countries like France and Britain, which now gave the architects an opportunity to try complex and attractive designs.

Gothic architecture grew from the Romanesque architectural style during the medieval period. It gained fame in France and spreading to Europe mostly in the South and middle Europe (Walton & Thomas 347). Europe was divided into several states and kingdoms. It gained its success from increased trade and development of artisan industry as well as growth in towns. Because Germany and the Lowlands enjoyed peace, several towns emerged. In order to build a competitive edge with other cities, it started establishing religious buildings. These buildings were of great importance to these towns because they showed pride and wealth. Churches and cathedrals were not only used for worship but also as social halls, markets, theatres and centers for civic lives. Many mansions, colleges, city halls were also built in Gothic style hence it was the most famous architecture.

The architecture was characterized by a perpendicular line, which coordinated the various parts into a point. The gothic architecture built specifically for ecclesiastical reasons had its upper horizontal lines broken down to pillars and battlements while the multiple perpendicular lines covered with pinnacles connecting to a point, with the slender pillars leading the eye upwards giving the best impression of a good architectural work ever encountered. The gothic style gained superiority over other styles since its slim pinnacles, which disappear in the sky, draws one away from the earthly contemplation to the heavenly riches.

Despite all the engineering technologies and artistic designs that could be used to decorate a building, the Gothic style was always on the outlook. Churches were the most attractive Gothic buildings that gave a beautiful structure to the Gothic architecture. Amiens Cathedral also referred to as the Roman Catholic Cathedral, in the city of Picardy, north of Paris was the tallest and with a large interior volume. It could accommodate all citizens of Amiens city at that time, which is an example of a religious architecture that portrays the exact features of Gothic architecture.

Gothic style of architecture is the most ancient architectural style evidenced in the Asian nation. The architectural style used in the construction of the temple of Solomon corresponds to gothic style; this proves it the oldest with sacred purposes.

Materials used

Germany, Italy, and England used several materials in the construction of their gothic churches, which included bricks, stones, sand and marble. French majorly used limestone thus gothic architecture provides for a wide range of materials to be used without restriction on specific ones. Gothic church architectures provide for a range of plans that vary from one gothic building to the other depending on the location. For example, the Amiens Cathedral used the plan of conformity with the long nerve forming the cathedral, supported by the arm referred to as transept and an extension known as the chancel.

Features of gothic architecture

Gothic architecture can also be shown in the arts, sculptures, and paintings of the entrance of the cathedral making the gothic church appear in the world book of art galleries (Guerin 1128). Gothic architecture gives a new angle of thinking, creating more complex art ideas in decorating gothic buildings that may give rise to renaissance art.

The major feature of the Gothic architecture was the pointed arch that was borrowed from the Islamic architectural style. The pointed arch brought relief to the thrust posing more stress on its structure. It provided an opportunity to slim the columns and piers supporting the arch unlike the columns of the drum-like shape in the Romanesque culture. The upper level of the nerve was designed with slimness such that the gallery did not appear to outdo the lower part, the column continuing to the roof forming the vault.

Ribbed vaulting is another feature of architecture mostly used in the Romanesque buildings. The vaulting and ornamentation created by the new architectural knowledge, Rayonnant Gothic was much a stonework, with tracery windows, that was flamboyant (Radding & William 43). Ribbed vaulting became more complex crossed with lierne ribs hence leading to the development of international gothic. The slim columns and the thrust allowed for larger windows, which brought in more light. This produced beautiful architect work found in the Gothic church. Gothic buildings were made in nice shapes and patterns that were sensible at a glance.

Rose windows were also part of the design, which was found at the entrance, and the transept of the gothic churches. In the Amiens Cathedral, apart from bricks and stones used on the wall, colored glasses were also used, which were associated to certain gods and they were important in teaching some religious norms to the illiterate at that time. The glass stained windows in contrast to the dark walls gave a feeling of mystery.

Another feature of the Gothic building was the flying buttress resembling slim extended fingers, which formed the structural element that supported the wall vertically, and decoration in certain gothic buildings. The flying buttress without the clerestory walls made it look as if one is on a heavenly expulsion with the decrease of the structure virtually. It also played the role of balancing the interior vaults rib network forming a canopy similar to a tent on the congregation.

Colours majorly used in the gothic architecture

Gothic is a repose and solemn architecture that does not allow for shouting colors except in its windows where stained and transparent window paints are recommended. The light that is emitted through this medium is soft and subdued filled with crimson that comes from nature presented by the Heavenly Creator that is surely of the house of God.

The yellow and the light brown colors are recommended for stonework and for woodwork the English oak or the light olive brown formed from a mixture of raw umber and lead are used. The light olive brown color is the most recommendable color because it is less costly as compared to the imitation of the English oak (Branner 56). The lead, blue and grey colors are perceived to be cold colors, which could only be applied in the window sashes. The paintings on the wall should be of lighter colors than the ground, shading them with a tint of pure umber to provide a better taste to the eye.

The crimson color is the best for the choir chairs, cushions, desks and pulpit drapery. At times the purple color is used which look wonderful with more light, but on a cloudy day, it is almost black, making the church to look like a mourning ground. Crimson color is, however, the most preferred since it can do with woodwork, unlike the purple one. Others also prefer scarlet which is a rarely used. The sash, which carried the glass windows, was anciently made using pewter or lead hence the sash should be painted to resemble the materials it is made from. The gothic building does not allow for white paintings. The gothic architecture allows for sober but solemn colors, which leaves the finishing pleasant and attractive without it looking gloom.

Expenses to gothic architecture

The gothic architectural design is believed to be proper for large buildings. However, gothic architecture produces a masterpiece art without effect on the size. The uttermost finishing is simple but fixed on specific examples that one cannot divert from. As a generalization, the buttresses secure it height, perpendicular lines proving the light and shade (Branner 23). It also allows pinnacle-battlements termination, splitting the horizontal lines, nearer to the pointed arches extending to the sky, placing some two subdivisions on the window, and allowing the windows and the doors to retreat from the wall to give the most recognized external design.

In the interior part, the ceiling may consist of pointed arches supported by a cluster of slender pillars or expensive groins, ribs, and traces. Battlements break the Upper line while the lower one takes the pointed arch form. At times emphasis is laid on the economy thus the finishing has to be in consistent with it. Ornamentation that calls for a greater expense is arbitrary hence can be postponed until the people concerned gives a go-ahead that is if at all they are capacitated.

Christians believe that the church is the Lords house, the dwelling place of the Highest. Church is the place where they go to worship their God and devote themselves to his service. Even though the economy is a factor in bringing up any building, Christians are careful to establish a magnificent building to the Lord. On the Sabbath, all Christians dress their best, corresponding to the dressing of the soul, and then the Lord’s house should be clothed with the best of the architectural styles that one can surely recognize to be the dwelling place of God.

In conclusion, gothic architecture is an old method of architecture known for its high rank in ecclesiastical tastes. Its complex and attractive architectural designs made it famous in Europe even though formerly used by Asians. Gothic style is used to design palaces, universities, towers but the most important one is religious buildings that serve several purposes including worship, social halls, and theatres among others. It gives a subliming impression that exalts better than other architectural styles.

Works Cited

Branner, Robert. "Gothic Architecture 1160-1180 and its Romanesque Sources." Romanesque and Gothic Art: Studies in Western Art: Acts of the Twentieth International Congress of the History of Art. 1963.

Guerin, Sarah M. "Gothic architecture and sculpture: Renewal of methods and looks." (2014): 1128-1129.

Radding, Charles M., and William W. Clark. Medieval architecture, medieval learning: builders and masters in the age of Romanesque and Gothic. Yale University Press, 1992.

Walton, Steven A., and Thomas Boothby. "What is straight cannot fall: Gothic architecture, Scholasticism, and dynamics." History of Science 52.4 (2014): 347-376.

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