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Essay about Luxurious Gothic Cathedrals vs. Helping Those in Need

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Throughout history, humans have made magnificent works of art. The Colosseum in
Rome and the Statue of Liberty in New York are all proof of the extraordinary celebrated artwork human kind has been able to do throughout several years. Now, I want to discuss another celebrated work of art that was quite popular in the medieval period, Gothic architecture. During the medieval period Gothic architecture was considered to be luxurious because of its exaggerated height given to buildings. Not only did it give height, it also had plenty of other characteristics like the pointed arch, the vaulted ceiling, and of course, plenty of windows where light could pass right through. For statesman historian, Abbot Suger, light was important. He believed light was a connection from heaven to Earth. The more light, the better. It was because of Abbot Suger that the admired Gothic style began along with more of his art program from about 1125-1144 (Inventing the Exegetical Stained-Glass Window: Suger, Hugh, and a New Elite Art, par 1). However, not everyone agreed with this extravagant style. When Gothic cathedrals began being built, French abbot, Bernard de Clairvaux made a judgment of his own. He explained that he did not see the need to be so extravagant when the money going to those glittering churches can go to a better use, the poor. I agree with Bernard; there is no need to be stylish when adorning cathedrals if there are better uses for that money.
The other important characteristics of the Gothic cathedrals were the large stained windows, Rosetta windows, spires, and gargoyles (Sancho-Velasquez 2014). Suger's defensive argument on the elaborate characteristics of Gothic cathedrals was, "Everything that is most precious should be used above...


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...d believe in the criticism he gave Suger. Suger only cared about how powerful and mighty he wanted the Gothic cathedrals to look. He never stopped and realized that there is no need to be so extravagant with cathedrals because it is not worth it. As long as people have a place to worship God, there is really no need to go a step further and lavish the cathedrals with expensive artwork. That is not what Holy cathedrals are about.



Works Cited

Duby, Georges. The Age of the Cathedrals. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1983. Print.
Rudolph, Conrad. "Inventing the Exegetical Stained-Glass Window: Suger, Hugh, And A New Elite Art." Art Bulletin 93.4 (2011): 399-422. Academic Search Premier. Web. 14 Mar. 2014.
Sancho-Velasquez, Angeles. "The Gothic Riddle: Spirit and Matter." PowerPoint presentation. California State University, Fullerton. Fullerton, CA. Spring 2014.



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