Cathedrals had a floor plan shaped like a cross. The head of the church pointed east towards the holy city of Jerusalem. The transept, running north and south, represented the cross-bar of the cross. The foot of the cross, at the west end, provided the entrance to the church and personal salvation. The interior of a gothic cathedral gave the worshipper the impression of light and height, with slender columns framing large tall windows and reaching up to support a ribbed stone roof. The exterior was encrusted with statues, bobbly pinnacles, and the open fretwork (interlaced decorative design carved in low relief on a solid background) of flying buttresses. As the worshipper entered the portal, which was the door or entrance to a cathedral, he or she walked through the archivolts, a series of decorated, and recessed arches than spanned the portal. The archivolts were supported in a stunning manner by piers, a masonry support between openings and spaces that was distinguished by its slender cross section. Created of quarried stone and marble, piers added a unique element to the gothic cathedrals’ structure.
Cathedral construction evolved, with ribbed vaults ...
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...ight entered the eyes of the believers, it was supposed to illuminate the believer’s mind and spirit. Abbot Suger invented this style of communication at the Cathedral of St. Denis.
The basic concept of the Gothic design is the more elaborate and expensive the design the closer to the God one could become. A prime example of this is the reconstruction and redecoration of the Cathedral at Saint Denis under Abbott Suger. Suger, whom is credited with many of the concepts associated with Gothic architecture and design, envisioned a cathedral whose grandiose embellishments were equivalent to the praise he bestowed upon the God. These designs have truly stood the test of time. Originally conceived to handle the large amounts of traffic during pilgrimages. Many of these 11th century Gothic cathedrals still stand today and still welcome thousands of loyal pilgrims each year.
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