Importance Of Gothic Cathedrals

1027 Words3 Pages

Architecture, one of the most fascinating art forms, is often perceived as cultural symbols as well as work of art. For hundreds of thousands of years, people were constantly seeking ways to build bigger and higher architecture. It was until the 12th century, with the innovative engineering breakthroughs, the size and the scale of architecture have reached an unprecedented level that even modern architecture could not compete with. Taller than the ancient pyramids in Egypt, large enough to hold the Statue of Liberty; with a hundred million pounds of stone, seemingly weightless, yet as heavy as the Empire State Building. This is a revolution in architecture: Gothic cathedrals.1 This essay will focus on showing the beauty of Gothic cathedrals In this case, there are 3 main innovations that make Gothic cathedral possible to build. The first innovation is the pointed arch, which was the defining internal characteristic of gothic architecture. It was used to direct weight onto load-bearing columns at a sharp angle, thus allowing for much taller vaulted ceilings.3 Its significance was both practical and decorative. On the one hand, the pointed arch effectively distributed the force of heavier ceilings and thus could support much more weight than previous pillars that we saw in Romanesque period; on the other hand, the pointed arch has a sharper outlook than the Romanesque rounded arches in my opinion. The second innovation is the ribbed vault. A ribbed vault is an arched form created by the intersection of two or three barrel vaults used to support the weight of walls or roof. Using a combination of pointed arches and ribbed vaulting allowed cathedral walls to be built thinner, higher, and allowed more space for openings. Ribbed vaults could look utilitarian or highly decorative depending on where the vault was located in the cathedral.4 The third innovation is the flying buttress, which is another character-defining feature of medieval Gothic cathedral. A flying buttress is made up of two parts: the buttress, a large masonry block; and the “flyer,” an arch spanning between the buttress and the exterior wall. A flying buttress works by Imagine at the time when ordinary people walked into the cathedral, for the very first time in their life they immediately got stunned by the height and beauty of the stained glass. These walls of glass depict narratives from the Bible, like Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In an age when few people can read and write, stained glass window become the multimedia stories of their day, the Bible written in light. 6 And then they look up and see the beautiful ribbed arches that cross the ceiling, they must all feel so lucky and moved to be in such a sacred place. They were probably just marveling, like, “What is this? Am I in heaven right now?” And I think this was moving. At least I am still moved by this beautiful imaginary

Open Document