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Gothic Architecture

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Erin Pelley

on 5 December 2014

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Transcript of Gothic Architecture

Architecture in Europe began shifting from Romanesque around 1135
Developed around 1140 in Ile-de-France
Original name was “le style ogivar”
Gothic was a derogatory term based on the Gothic Barbarians
Northern countries focused on height & large windows
Areas south of the Alps had lower roofs, smaller windows and more painting
Central Europe featured the French Gothic pattern
First Gothic cathedral was St.-Denis
Suger was the “father” of Gothic
Thought people should experience heaven on earth at church
Aesthetic elements were meant to affect people spiritually
Style spread very quickly
Basic Cruciform Plan
Sites of coronations, christenings, weddings, funerals, and parliaments
Many contained bones of saints
Holding of Relics
Building Process
Often looked for the highest point in the area to place structure
Building Process- Labor
Workers involved:
master stone cutter
master sculptor
master mortar maker
master mason
master carpenter
master blacksmith
master roofer
master glass-maker
Most work that required heavy-lifting were done by men with no particular skill set
Building Process
Tools Used
-measuring stick
-brace and bit; bit
-sledge hammer and wedge
Concentrate weight of vault
Makes it possible to get rid of the wall between certain points
Probably most defining feature of gothic architecture
Main idea: pointed arches
Were able to support more weight than the rounded arches of Antiquity and Romanesque
Used to house the art of cathedrals, the windows
The Walls had thin piers and columns to support the great weight of the roof.
Transferred force to the ground
Allowed piers to be thin - space for windows
Wooden frames called centerings used in building process
Stained Glass
Lighter building materials allowed for more space in the walls for stained glass
Told stories
Lancets; plate tracery; bar tracery
Stained Glass continued
Mixture of ash and sand
Metals added for color
Patterns on white-washed bench
Molten glass blown and shaped
Connected with lead strips
Notre Dame
Cathedral School
11th Century - Bishop Fulbert
Twelfth Century Renaissance
Scholastic Philosophy
Erin’s Pictures!
More of Erin’s Pictures!
Festival of Lights
Notre Dame - Location
Built on island called Ile de la Cite
Built on site of two earlier churches
Notre Dame - Getting Started
Founded by Bishop Maurice de Sully
Began 1163 during reign of King Louis VII
200 years
Multiple architects
Work began with the choir
Notre Dame - Reconstruction
First finished in 1235 but reconstruction began almost immediately
Flying buttresses doubled
Transepts built
Forty chapels
Completed in 1345
Notre Dame - Size
130 m long, 48 m wide, 35 m high
Rose window 10 m diameter
Two 69 m high towers on West front
Notre Dame - Unique Parts
Symbolism of Apostles coming down to evangelize the world
Notre Dame - Bells
South tower: Emmanuel Bell
Clapper weighs 500 kg (approx. 1,000 lbs)
North tower: 4 other bells
Sancta Camisa
Puits des Saints-Forts, or the 'Well of the Strong Saints'
876 - Sancta Camisa
Charles the Bald
Notre Dame - Grand Gallery
Connects two west towers
Where gargoyles can be found
Gargoyles portray sins of man
Notre Dame - King’s Gallery
Line of statues of kings of Judah and Israel
Once thought to be the kings of France
What Makes Chartres Great?
Notre Dame - Relics Stored There
Piece of the cross
Nail of the passion
Holy crown of thorns
Notre Dame - Conflict
French Revolution
Converted to storage warehouse
Statues changed
Notre Dame - Famous People
Joan of Arc beatified inside
Napoleon crowned inside
Notre Dame - Use Today
Archbishop of Paris
Reims Cathedral

•Construction began 1211, opened in 1275
•Modeled after Chartres
•266 ft tall
•Site of Clovis’ baptism


•Site of coronation for
French kings
•Louis I first to be coronated
•Became a tradition


West Facade

•3 transcepts
•Middle: Dedicated to Mary
•“Visitation and Annunciation”

Reims Cathedral

•Construction began 1211, opened in 1275
•Modeled after Chartres
•266 ft tall
•Site of Clovis’ baptism


Site of coronation for French kings
Louis I was first coronation
Site of the Holy Ampulla
Became a tradition


West Facade

At a glance:
3 portals
4 windows
2 bell towers

Central Portal

Dedicated to Virgin Mary
Mary's coronation
"Visitation and Annunciation"

Florence Cathedral
"A structure so immense, so steeply rising towards the sky, that it covers all Tuscans with its shadow
-Leon Battista Alberti

Built in parts, and rebuilt several times
Its rebuilding began in 1296 under the order of Boniface ViIIsimple, somewhat bare interior
Built with public funds as a “state church”
Art done over a period of time by various artists, dating back to 1300
The iconic dome designed by Filippo was finished in 16 years
Last part to be finished was the facade, and was designed by Emilio de Fabris

Mosaics designed in the 19th century by Niccolò Barabino
Bell Tower
The bell tower started construction in 1334 by Giotto, Andrea Pisano continued his work after he died; finished in 1359 Francesco Talenti
The main bell was named Santa Reparata in 1475 and damaged and recast in 1705; weighs approx. 15,860 pounds
The smallest bell, cast in December of 1514 and weighing 1000 lbs
7 bells total

-Total weight: approx. 35, 586 lbs
Della Robbia - Sculptor
The lower row of the facade looking toward the baptistry depicts a man and a woman representing the ‘creators’ of activity; such as herding, music, and wine-making
The upper register shows the seven planets, starting with Jupiter in the northern corner
Background Cont.
North Portal

South Portal

More Distinctive Features

•Twin Towers
•Smile of Reims


•East end
•5 chapels
•Flying buttresses


Virtual Tour


Damage from natural causes
Fire of 1814
Hundred Year’s War
Bombshells in WW1
Three windows recreated
Reims is 803 years old

Known for elaborate sculpture
Over 2,300 sculptures
Sculptures were built during different periods due to restoration
Made of limestone
David & Goliath
Gallery of Kings
Rose window
Crucifixion scene
Arch shows life of Christ
Smiling Angel
Last Judgement in the gable
Scenes of apocalypse
Statues of prophets

Gothic Architecture
More Cathedral Pictures
In the Middle Ages, the cathedral functioned as a kind of marketplace
Especially for winos, textile traders and bankers
The area immediately surrounding the cathedral, known as the cloître, was a free-trade zone governed by the church authorities, who were entitled to the taxes from all commercial activity taking place there
This created competitions between bishops and civil leaders, often escalating to violence

Built in the Episcopal See of Chartres, 40 miles outside of Paris
Mostly constructed between 1194 and 1250
Changes have been minor, known for its preservation
How did your thoughts about Gothic Architecture change?
Which cathedral is your favorite?
Final Thoughts
Apsidal Chapels
Full transcript