Unformatted text preview: Module 1C: Gothic Architecture
When–out of my delight in the beauty of the house of God–the loveliness of the many-colored gems has called me away from external cares, and worthy meditation has induced me to reflect . . . then it seems to me that I see myself dwelling, as it were, in some strange region of the universe which neither exists entirely in the slime of the earth nor entirely in the purity of Heaven . . . . Abbot Suger, patron of the first Gothic cathedral Lecture 3 Outline
I. Early Gothic architecture in France A. Romanesque and beginnings of Gothic B. The church of St.-Denis C. Gothic structure D. Notre Dame in Paris II. High Gothic architecture in France A. Notre Dame in Chartres B. Notre Dame in Amiens C. Ste.-Chapelle III. Gothic architecture in England A. Salisbury Cathedral B. Gloucester Cathedral C. King’s College Chapel in Cambridge Study Questions for Gothic Architecture 1. What were the basic characteristics of Gothic architecture? Consider structure, spatial planning, function, and other issues. 2. In what ways did Gothic architecture continue characteristics of Romanesque architecture? In what ways did Gothic architecture differ from Romanesque? 3. What were some of the distinct characteristics of Gothic architecture in France, England, and Italy (we will cover Italy on Thursday)? 4. What were the relationships between space, structure, light, and religious beliefs? IA: Romanesque and Early Gothic From module 1B: St. Philibert. Tournus, France (ca. 960-1120)
Example of Romanesque architecture with round arches, simple forms, feeling of heavy masonry. Persistence of ancient Roman forms, as in Pont du Gard at Nîmes, France (left). From module 1B: Ste.-Foy. Conques, France (ca. 1060-1120)
Example of pilgrimage road church. Note rational circulation, modular composition. France and the Low Countries, with Île-de-France detail.
Major Gothic sites marked with dots; especially significant ones in red. IB: The Church of St.-Denis, Paris.
St. Denis was the apostle of France (died ca. 250) and his church served as burial site of French kings for many centuries. The church of St. Denis is associated with many other religious and political figures, notably kings such as Charlemagne. It became the symbolic protector of France in several ways: keeper of body and soul of kings; keeper of royal banner; keeper of coronation regalia. Scepter of Charlemagne. The scepter of Charlemagne was one of several major treasures of Charlemagne given to the church of St. Denis. Eagle of Abbot Suger.
Eagle of Abbot Suger from St. Denis hints at the wealth of the abbey, which Suger supposedly wished to rival the great Byzantine church Hagia Sophia. The body of the eagle is made from a porphyry vase from antiquity, reinforcing connections between ancient civilizations and the church of St. Denis. St.-Denis. Paris (ambulatory and west front begun 1144). Study question: In what ways did Gothic architecture continue characteristics of Romanesque architecture? In what ways did Gothic architecture differ from Romanesque? Façade and ambulatory of abbey church of St.-Denis (left) mark beginning of Gothic. St.-Denis. Paris (ambulatory and west front begun 1144). Suger on the bronze reliefs of the central door: Whoever thou art, if thou seekest to extol the glory of these doors, Marvel not at the gold and the expense but at the craftsmanship of the work. Bright is the noble work; but, being nobly bright, the work Should brighten the minds so that they may travel, through the true lights, To the True Light where Christ is the true door. St.-Denis. Paris (ambulatory and west front begun 1144; nave begun 1231) Like most large churches of the age, St.-Denis was built over a long period. The earliest extant parts built by Suger represent the beginnings of Gothic architecture. For a convenient visual glossary of Gothic terms, see http://www.learn.columbia.edu/amiens_flash/ Comparison of choir of St.-Denis (left) and Ste.-Foy Study questions: What were the basic characteristics of Gothic architecture? Consider structure, spatial planning, function, and other issues. In what ways did Gothic architecture continue characteristics of Romanesque architecture? In what ways did Gothic architecture differ from Romanesque? Ambulatory, St.-Denis. Paris (begun 1144). Study question: What were the relationships between space, structure, light, and religious beliefs? Stained glass now fills the ample openings, recalling descriptions of the Heavenly Jerusalem. Theological motives in Gothic architecture New Testament, Revelation 21
10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. Stained glass from St.-Denis This image of the Jesse Tree shows Christ and the Virgin at the top of a tree of descendents beginning with Jesse. Nave. St.-Denis. Paris (13th century). The nave was constructed about 100 years after the ambulatory and façade and shows the mature High Gothic style with very large clerestory windows. Stained glass. St.-Denis. Paris (13th century). The clerestory has dematerialized into broad expanses of stained glass. IC: Gothic Structure
Study question: What were the basic characteristics of Gothic architecture? Consider structure, spatial planning, function, and other issues.
1. Pointed arch: varying angle of arch allows more flexibility, especially with cross-vaulting; pointed arches produce less lateral thrust; also suggests verticality. 2. Rib vault: allows faster, more economical construction because centering is needed only for the ribs, and not for the webs. 3. Flying buttress: structurally efficient to resist the strong lateral forces caused by roofs and wind loads; allows more open and transparent walls. None of these are Gothic inventions. Combining these three elements to create a particular vision results in the Gothic style. Arches and Vaults Compared with the round arches typical of Roman and Romanesque architecture, the pointed arch is more structurally efficient. As shown in the pointed rib vault, it is also more versatile, allowing vaults of different widths to have the same height. The cross vault, or groin vault, opens up the walls below the vaults by funneling loads to the four corners. Demonstration of Arches and Buttresses: A model based on St. Pierre at Beauvais. St. Pierre at Beauvais was the tallest of the French cathedrals but only the choir remains. ID: Notre Dame, Paris (begun 1163). Gothic cathedral at the very center of Paris. Famed also as the site of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Left: Notre Dame, Paris (begun 1163; façade 1200 and later). St.-Denis, Paris (begun 1144). Façade of Notre Dame is in the High Gothic style. The basic format of St.-Denis becomes the standard for Gothic facades; details and proportions evolve. Notre Dame, Paris (begun 1163). Plan; section through nave; nave elevation. Note sexpartite vaults of nave. Notre Dame, Paris (begun 1163). The round columns reminiscent of Romanesque buildings show that the nave is Early Gothic. Comparison of Ste. Foy, St. Etienne, and Notre Dame in Paris Note development from round arches and massive, closed walls of Romanesque to pointed arches and dematerialized walls of Gothic. II: High Gothic Architecture Development of Gothic cathedrals from Early through High Gothic: Notre Dame, Paris (1063); Notre Dame, Chartres (1194); Notre Dame, Amiens (1220); St.-Pierre, Beauvais (1225). IIA: Notre Dame, Chartres, France (begun The1194). Often called Chartres Cathedral, this church is often called the first High Gothic building. It is the most important site of the cult of the Virgin and houses the Tunic of the Virgin. As the size and location of this building suggests, cathedrals were religious, economic, educational, and political centers. Chartres Cathedral was built at a time when towns were growing larger and wealthier. Notre Dame, Chartres, France (west front predates body of cathedral and was begun 1134; rose window begun after 1194). The façade shows many Romanesque traits, but the rose window and left (north) tower are typically Gothic. Notre Dame, Chartres. France (begun 1194). Central bay of North Porch of Notre Dame, Chartres. Gothic churches, like Romanesque churches before them, were narrative monuments that told stories to the largely illiterate population. Central bay of North Porch of Notre Dame, Chartres. Jamb statues depict biblical figures such as St. Peter, shown at far right holding keys. Notre Dame, Chartres. France (begun 1194). Photoelastic interference patterns (right) show stress caused by the weight of the building and wind loads; each color represents a different magnitude of intensity. Notre Dame, Chartres. France (begun 1194). Notre Dame, Chartres. France (begun 1194). In High Gothic cathedrals, the clerestory windows grow and the triforium shrinks, creating a more open wall that emphasizes verticality. The labyrinth may symbolize the Christian journey towards salvation and heaven. Notre Dame, Chartres. France (begun 1194). Note quadripartite groin vaults (cf. vaults of Notre Dame in Paris). Location and iconography of stained glass. With their exterior statuary and stained glass, Gothic churches are narrative monuments. At Chartres, the stained glass depicts many figures and stories. Notre Dame, Chartres. France (begun 1194). Rose window in the west (main) façade shows the second coming of Christ in the center surrounded by the evangelists, apostles, and angels. Notre Dame, Chartres. France (begun 1194). St.-Denis (left) and Charlemagne (above), showing associations with history, empire, nation. Notre Dame, Chartres. France (begun 1194). Cathedrals were community centers for religion, entertainment, politics, labor. This window was given by the stonecutters who built the cathedral. The Church attempted to draw local leaders and professions into the cathedral family. IIB: Notre Dame, Amiens. France (begun 1220).
Amiens represents the consummation of High Gothic architecture. Notre Dame, Amiens. France (begun 1220). Notre Dame, Chartres. France (begun 1134). St.-Etienne. Caen, France (begun 1068) Notre Dame, Amiens. France (begun 1220).
Video clip: exterior of Amiens showing flying buttresses. Section through east end. Notre Dame, Amiens. France (begun 1220). IIC: Ste.-Chapelle. Paris (1243-48). Ste.-Chapelle was built as a royal chapel to house relics brought to Paris. The building is an example of the Rayonnant style, named after radiating arrangement of lights in the rose windows of Gothic churches beginning ca. 1240. Ste.-Chapelle. Paris (1243-48). Ste.-Chapelle. Paris (1243-48). Ste.-Chapelle. Paris (1243-48). III. Gothic Architecture in England
Study question: What were some of the distinct characteristics of Gothic architecture in France, England, and Italy (we will cover Italy on Thursday)? Gothic architecture spreads throughout Europe and takes many forms. It is at once an international style and a set of regional and chronological variations. In England, many types of vaulting develop, for instance fan vaulting at Ely Cathedral and at Wells Cathedral (you do not have to know these images for the exams). IIIA: Salisbury Cathedral. England (begun 1220). Views from northwest (left) and north. Salisbury is a rare example of a Gothic cathedral constructed within a span of several decades mainly in one style: the Early English. Salisbury Cathedral. England (begun 1220). Notre Dame, Amiens. France (begun 1220). What are the differences and similarities? Salisbury Cathedral. England (begun 1220). Notre Dame, Amiens. France (begun 1220). Salisbury Cathedral. England (begun 1220). The English Gothic cathedrals tend to emphasize length over height, as seen in both proportions and details. Salisbury Cathedral. England (begun 1220). Notre Dame, Amiens. France (begun 1220). Compare characteristic horizontality of Salisbury with verticality of French Gothic. IIIB. Gloucester Cathedral. England (11th century-16th century). Built over hundreds of years, Gloucester Cathedral is a virtual encyclopedia of English styles from Romanesque through late Gothic. Gloucester Cathedral. England. The nave piers are Romanesque and the nave vaulting is Early English Gothic, which corresponds roughly with French High Gothic.
See panoramas here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/gloucestershire/interactive/360/2003/07/cathedral2.shtml Presbytery and Great East Window. Gloucester Cathedral. England (mid-14th century). Perpendicular Style: late style of English Gothic; begins ca. 1330. Characterized by emphasis on vertical elements, complex vaulting, flattened arches, division of walls into rectangular panels. Note lierne vault. Vault Types Left: lierne vault (mid-14th century) and basic rib vault (13th century) of Gloucester Cathedral. Tierceron: secondary rib connecting main springing point to ridge rib. Lierne: tertiary rib not connected to main springing point or central boss. Cloister. Gloucester Cathedral. England (ca. 1400). Fan vaulting becomes characteristic of English Gothic in 15th century.
The Harry Potter films use historical locations such as Gloucester Cathedral: http://www.bbc.co.uk/gloucestershire/ focus/2003/08/potter_more_info.shtml Fan vaulting. South cloister walk. Gloucester Cathedral. England (late 14th century). IIIC. King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. England (begun 1446). This late English building shows the continuation of English Perpendicular Gothic. King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. England (begun 1446). Contrast of simplicity of space with decorative quality of fan vaulting. Both rational and highly elaborate. King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. England (begun 1446). Entire surface of vaults and walls is covered with ornamentation. The view at right shows the space between the stone vaulting and the timber roof. King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. England (begun 1446). Stained glass at King’s College shows more naturalistic depictions that reflect new Renaissance modes of seeing and depicting. See you on Thursday for Italian Gothic and Medieval Cities ...
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