The Gothic Style Of A Christian Cathedral Essay

The Gothic Style Of A Christian Cathedral Essay

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Imagine a Christian cathedral. The image conjured up by the phrase “cathedral” is probably a massive stone building with soaring towers and spires, intricate ornamentations covering the building, and beautiful stained glass windows. If one imagined such a building in response to being asked to imagine a cathedral, one would be accurate. Why exactly are these attributes associated with cathedrals? Well, many cathedrals such as these were built during the Gothic period in medieval Europe. The Gothic style of architecture is an easily recognizable one with its unprecedentedly tall towers and wide windows. Before the Gothic style was the Romanesque style, which is represented in the traditional castle in Europe: wide, short, with thick walls and narrow windows. However, with a new age dawning after the Crusades, and an influx of holy relics, Christians and nobles needed larger and grander spaces to show off their growing success and wealth. With the new Gothic style, huge innovations took place in architecture that allowed Christians and nobles their grand, new public spaces. Examples of the innovations that took place are the development of ribbed vaulting and the addition of large windows that were often stained, which were perhaps the largest architectural innovations of this time.
The first huge innovation from the Gothic period is the ribbed vault, undoubtedly the most important architectural device in the Gothic style. The principle behind the Gothic style was to reach greater interior heights. However, “medieval churches had solid stone vaults (the structure that supports the ceiling or roof). These were extremely heavy structures and tended to push the walls outward, which could lead to the collapse of the building. In turn, ...


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...cted as a “poor man’s Bible,” (“The Gothic Cathedral”). The windows showed through images what the Bible told in words to the illiterate masses of peasants who would flood into the cathedral weekly and was certainly more dazzling and wondrous to behold than technical developments such as the pointed arch.
The Gothic style of architecture was a complete revolution compared to the Romanesque style. Ribbed vaults allowed structural designs like no one had ever seen before. They made ceilings light and walls taller which allowed for massive increased in vertical height. The ribbed vaults allowed walls to carry less weight which led to the introduction windows. Windows became stylized and stained glass was used to tell biblical stories and show off the wealth and power of the church. These two innovations more than any other changed the landscape of medieval architecture.

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