Essay on Geometry in Gothic Architecture

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Introduction

The 12th Century saw the move away from the Romanesque architecture which had typified the preceding centuries to the era of the great Gothic cathedrals which were to become the architectural symbol of the middle ages. The transformation was not simply one of size or scope but a manifestation of the cultural shifts which were occurring as the medieval age commenced.

By this time, numbers and geometry had acquired a metaphysical significance and were believed to have occult symbolism and power. The introduction of sacred geometry into all aspects of the design of places of worship was therefore inevitable and from that time key design features such as the numbers of pillars in the choir, the layout of the floor plan and
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Clear examples of a spiritual combination of artistic expression and devotion.

Scholasticism, or the attempt to infuse contemporary and emerging values into the accumulation of previous knowledge is also in clear evidence in Chartres which contains many statues and artefacts of the Greek and other ages . Statues including those of Aristotle, Pythagoras and Donatus each of whom were great scholars of a long gone age are to be found. A clear illustrating of long standing influence on Gothic principles.

Political stability as a result of the rapport between the Pope and Kings of France removed the requirement for fortification of religious buildings with the result that cathedrals became city buildings as opposed to being established in rural and remote locations.

Economic prosperity was also returning as a result of technological advance and in Chartres in particular the regional agricultural led economic revival was driving population growth and prosperity in general.

Characteristics of the Gothic Cathedral

As a result the great churches in the cities became symbols of the new age. This was the end of a period of architectural experimentation. The building of Chartres was preceded by an extended period of experimentation, characterised by a mixture of ogival arches, flying buttresses and triforia. The completion of Chartres represented the time when a template came together, a harmony was established which would represent
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