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The Gothic Cathedral THE GOTHIC CATHEDRAL OBJECTIVES • Understand the key structural components of the Gothic cathedral • Explain the origins of the Gothic style • Analyze the cathedral as an interactive environment • Explain the symbolic properties of light and height in the Gothic cathedral Ille de France region THE GOTHIC CATHEDRAL Notre Dame, Paris, 1163-1267 Romanesque style: Ste. Marie, Souillac, France. c. 1130 Gothic style: Abbey Church of St. Denis, France, 1220s Gothic Cathedral Architectural Style • Began in France in the 12c. • Pointed arches. • Flying buttresses. • Stained glass windows. • Elaborate, ornate interior. • Taller, more airy lots of light. • Lavish sculpture larger-than-life. Development of Gothic Cathedrals 1. Urban revolution: civic pride, rising wealth, intense urban piety 2. Mirrors shift in piety, literature, and the lifestyle of the nobility towards emotional intensity and refinement 3. Structural engineering advances allowed for greater height and took the weight off the walls allowing for the installation of large windows Gothic Cathedrals: 2 major features • LIGHT • HEIGHT Notre Dame, Paris, ca. 1250, nave & choir Interactive Elements • Educational program • Inspiring mystical, emotional experience using light and height Abbot Suger: creates the Gothic style at St. Denis Choir, St. Denis, 1140s **First church space to focus on making the ceiling higher and the interior more filled with light **Beginning of new style of church design in France The Gothic Style Emerges Tree of Jesse, window at St. Denis **educational **symbolic of God’s light in your life Royal Chapel of St. Chapelle, Paris, begun 1240s Sainte Chapelle, interior Rose Window: A circular window composed of patterned tracery arranged in petal-like formation. Rose Window Chartres Cathedral, Paris The good, of course, is always beautiful, and the beautiful never lacks proportion. --- Plato Notre Dame Cathedral **Exterior of cathedrals are also part of the educational program **Numerous relief and partially free-standing sculptures cover the front and sides of the structure—all carefully planned to be part of an overall religious program Notre Dame, portal carvings Spires—rise up pointing to heaven Cathedral Gargoyles HEIGHT Structural Elements • Rib Vaults • Pointed Arches • Flying Buttresses Rib Vault: A relatively thin stone vault set within a framework of ribs. Amiens, nave vaulting, 1220-1247 Nave height: 140 feet Flying Buttress: a free-standing support attached to the outer walls to resist the lateral thrust of a vault Amiens Cathedral Nave cross section Flying Buttress Amiens Cathedral, buttressing Computer graphic: Amiens Source: Amiens Cathedral Project Basilican Floor Plan (Latin Cross) • Cathedrals were usually oriented along an east-west axis. The main entrance was on the west end while the liturgical stuff (altar, bishop’s throne, etc.) was located in the east end. They had the shape of a Latin cross. Basilican Plan (Latin Cross) NAVE: the central longitudinal space of a basilican church AISLE: the space between the columns of the nave and the side wall TRANSEPT: an extension across the main axis giving a church the shape of a cross Crossing: area of a church where the nave, choir, and transept intersect Choir: area of the church where the priest performs the mass Apse: vaulted, circular extension or projection at the eastern end of a church apse Which Interior Is Which? Which Cathedral Style Is Which?
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