A History of the Gothic Period of Art and Architecture Essay

2184 Words Apr 28th, 2008 9 Pages
Gothic Art is concerned with the painting, sculpture, architecture, and music characteristic of the second of two great international eras that flourished in western and central Europe during the Middle Ages. Architecture was the most important and original art form during the Gothic period. The principal structural characteristics of Gothic architecture arose out of medieval masons' efforts to solve the problems associated with supporting heavy masonry ceiling vaults over wide spans. The problem was that the heavy stonework of the traditional arched barrel vault and the groin vault exerted a tremendous downward and outward pressure that tended to push the walls upon which the vault rested outward, thus collapsing them. A building's …show more content…
In the 12th century larger windows produced novel lighting effects, not lighter churches. The stained glass of the period was heavily colored and remained so well into the 13th century.

One of the earliest buildings in which these techniques were introduced in a highly sophisticated architectural plan was the abbey of Saint-Denis , Paris . The East End was rebuilt about 1135-44, and, although the upper parts of the choir and apse were later changed, the ambulatory and chapels belong to this phase. The proportions are not large, but the skill and precision have given the abbey its traditional claim to the title "first Gothic building." One of the most influential buildings was Chartres cathedral (present church mainly built after 1194). There, the architect abandoned entirely the use of the tribune gallery, but, instead of increasing the size of the arcade, he managed, by a highly individual type of flying buttress, to increase the size of the clerestory, or the upper part of the wall with windows for lighting the central space. This idea was followed in a number of important buildings, such as the 13th-century Reims and Amiens cathedrals. The conception that the content of a great church should be dominated by large areas of glazing set in the upper parts was influential in the 13th century.
The decorative features of these great churches were, on the whole, simple. In the second half of the 12th century it became fashionable to "bind" the interior