Gothic Architecture

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The term gothic was “adopted in sixteenth-century Italy to describe the art of northern Europe.” It was originally a derogatory term and was believed to be the destruction of classical traditions by Germanic invaders or Goths. (401) Gothic architecture was known during that time as “the French style” and didn't adopt the term Gothic until later. (401) Gothic cathedrals sprang up rapidly between the twelfth and thirteenth century. Gothic architecture used spires, pointed arches, and flying buttresses to get the structures to reach greater heights than previous arches and cathedrals. This essentially was symbolic of them trying to get closer to God, these features could almost be viewed as a ladder into heaven. This desire came from new intellectual and spiritual concepts that took a more rational view of God, and saw God encompassed many things, such as light, reason and proportion. Skeletal walls had minimal frame work called rib vaulting. (406) Rib vaulting replaced the massive stonework of the Romanesque style with thin columns and ribs and windows that brought the viewers gaze upwards towards heaven. (406) The extensive stained glass windows would often depict images associated with the Bible and Christianity. (405) Abbot Suger was the deisgner of the Abbey Church of Saint-Denis. He was responsible for making light a key point of the Gothic style. Suger based his new disigns on his readings that he believed were done by the original Saint Denis. These pretty much stated that the church was not to be marveled because of its cost but more the craftmanship with which it was built. It said the church shoud “brighten the mind, so that they may travel, through the true lights, to the True Light where Christ is the True Door.” (402) Suger believed that the light from the stained glass windows would beautifully light the church's rooms. Abbot started the idea that surrounding yourself with such beauty and opulence increased one thoughts of the divine. These glass...
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