Gothic Art: The History And Development Of Gothic Architecture

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Gothic art evolved from Romanesque art and lasted from the mid-12th century AD to the end of the 16th century. It was a particular style of Medieval art and was led by the concurrent development of Gothic architecture, established by the Basilica of St Denis. Through the influence of historical design methods, such as Islamic/Romanesque architecture and the impact the spread of Christianity had on Europe, Abbot Suger was able to develop a new style of architecture through his reconstruction of St Denis. This led to the development of taller buildings with thinner walls and bigger rooms on the inside.

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The influence of Romanesque architecture towards Gothic is very prevalent when studying the two side-by-side. For example,
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2006. “Images of Basilica of St. Denis, Paris.” Bluffton University.]

Another difference separating the two were that Romanesque style buildings had limited light whereas Gothic cathedrals were flooded with natural light. The architectural reason for this was due to the walls being made primarily out of stained glass. This was now achievable with the Gothic design because of the flying buttresses that supported the walls from the outside of the building. Thus making the three most defining characteristics of the Gothic style, that differ it from Romanesque to be the ribbed vault, the flying buttress and the pointed arch.
["The Seven Key Characteristics of Gothic Architecture: From the Gargoyle to the Flying Buttress." The Seven Key Characteristics of Gothic Architecture: From the Gargoyle to the Flying Buttress. Accessed September 01, 2016.]

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And, in seeing this light, is resurrected from is former submersion.” – Abbot Suger
[Translation from Erwin Panofsky. 1979. “Abbot Suger on the Abbey Church of St. Denis and its Art Treasures.”]
Another aspect of Gothic architecture, that was heavily influenced by religion, is the implementation and utilization of the rose window. It depicts the final judgement of man and is part of the Gothic tradition in which biblical and historical stories were portrayed in stained glass and sculpture. At a time when most of the population was illiterate, these embellishments made biblical scripture available to everyone. [Pevsner, Nikolaus. 1963. An Outline of European Architecture. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books.]
The utilisation of gargoyles in Gothic architecture was for two reasons. On a practical level, they were spouts that moved drain water off the roof. On a spiritual level, they scared people into going to church. Finally, the height of Gothic cathedrals was meant to symbolise reaching up to the heavens and strengthening the inhabitants relationships with God. [Swaan, Wim. 1969. The Gothic Cathedral. Garden City, NY: