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13 Facts about Gothic Art and Architecture | ARTiculations

13 Facts about Gothic Art and Architecture | ARTiculations


Hello art nerds – have you ever wondered about
what Gothic art is? We’re here to talk you. Let us first be clear what we’re not talking
about here. It’s not this, or this, or this. Sorry Goth Rock fans and people who like heavy
eyeliner. Gothic architecture first came in to prominence
in France around the early to mid 12th century and it’s mostly exemplified through large
cathedrals. It features things such as stained glass windows, pointed arches, flying buttresses,
elaborate ribbed-vaulting as well as asymmetrical designs and facades. Gothic architecture evolved from Romanesque
architecture that was carried through the medieval ages. Romanesque architecture mostly
featured rounded arches, small rounded mosaic windows, heavy masonry, heavy ceilings as
well as walls. And for the most part it had proportional, symmetrical plans and facades. There is a common misconception that during
the medieval ages and during the gothic period people only built churches and cathedrals,
which is obviously not true because they had to live some where. People also built houses
and commercial spaces in similar styles, it’s just that those weren’t built as durable as
cathedrals, and those general got rebuilt more often. Whereas when it comes to a church
or cathedral they’re general maintained very well. Various architectural features like flying
buttresses, pointed arches and ribbed-vaulted ceilings allowed building to be built much
taller with thinner walls as well as allowed large stained glass windows to be installed. Now why did they want to build super tall
cathedrals with huge windows you ask? This mostly due to the fact that various French
cities like Chartres, Reims and Amiens were competing to have the largest cathedral in
the world at the time. So apparently the taller your building is, the higher you reach the
heavens and therefore you worship God the most. The term Gothic originates from the term “Goths.”
Which were what the Romans used to describe Germanic tribes in the medieval period. It
basically means “barbaric” – which is how the Romans felt about Germanic tribes at the
time – or anyone who’s not Roman for that matter. The term “Gothic Architecture” was first used
actually in the 16th century by Italian scholars – and they actually used this term to describe
architecture in the twelfth century in a derogatory way because at the time they weren’t very
interested in this type of pointy, elaborately designed architecture, and they felt that
it was kind of messy and barbaric. The tallest completed gothic cathedral from
the early Gothic period is the Amiens cathedral in France it’s about 120km or 75 miles north
of Paris. It was built from 1220 to 1270. It reaches an internal height of 42.3 meters
or 128 feet (this is wrong it’s 138.8 ft). Now Gothic art, specifically sculpture and
painting, it refers to a broader period of artistic styles in Europe, at around the
same time, roughly 12-14 centuries, that includes secular as well as religious works. They mostly
seem to show scenes and figures in more fluid, naturalistic, narrative and complex forms.
As opposed to prior periods of relatively more simplistic and rigid compositions. Many Gothic art works such as paintings and
illustrations appear in altarpieces or illuminated manuscripts in these large Gothic cathedrals. Now Gothic art gradually evolved into the
renaissance period with little to no distinct transition. Styles progressively became more
three-dimensional and more depth driven. Although the precise scientific practice of perspective
painting wouldn’t be perfected in Europe until around the middle of the 16th century – in
the middle of the renaissance. Now the UK and its various colonial counterparts
experienced a very prominent period of Gothic revival later in around the 18th and 19th
centuries. Especially after the rise of Romanticism – where people gained a new appreciation and
longing for medieval, decorative arts and architecture. And thus – many well known buildings
such as the Palace at Westminster, the London Bridge, as well as the Parliament buildings
in Canada – in Ottawa, Ontario – were built with very distinctive Gothic revival styles. Thanks for watching. And please let us know
if you have any cool and interesting facts about Gothic art and architecture. And please
leave us a comment if you have any suggestions on what we could do in a future episode. And
don’t forget to subscribe.

11 comments found

  1. Hey, nice channel and great video!
    I particulary like how advanced was the structural conception of the gothic buildings. The structure was independent from the walls of the building with the use of the buttress, which allowed them to build taller builiginds with larger openings on the walls.
    In the renaissane, walls went back to being Load bearring. independent structure was only used again in modernism, centuries later.

  2. I have to admit that I struggle to understand art, and while people are being blown away with it, I sit there thinking, "I don't get it". Architecture though is fascinating and I love learning about the history behind the place, the story. I have a few architecture focused videos planned for the coming months! 🙂 

  3. hi!! can you tell me What was the impact of Byzantine art on Gothic art? i only need a
    Brief background of the socio-political situation will do
    !

  4. There actually is a connection between Gothic art and architecture, and eyeliner wearing Goths… but it IS complicated!
    Along with the revival of Gothic a+a in around the 19th century, came the birth of the horror novel, with Frankenstein, and not long after, Dracula and others. This genre was driven by the industrial revolution, which brought with it feelings of displacement, melancholy, and a longing for a simpler past.
    The Gothic youth subculture, closely allied with punk and other youth subcultures, is driven by similar feelings, as the Industrial Revolution and it's characteristic social upheavals and injustices have never really ended. As such, "Goths" are attracted to "Victorian Gothic" and horror literature… back to Frankenstein and Dracula. AND, they like to model their looks after those of characters in these novels! That's why the black jewellery you see on goth girls often (not always – it's a very broad movement) looks very Victorian!
    I was most curious about this whole thing while in school because I was studying Gothic Art + Architecture while living with a Goth. He jokingly used to say, "I'm not Goth, I'm Romanesque". 3 years later, I finally got the joke! He was also a student of Art History.
    It finally really came together when I read this tiny and occasionally very funny little book: http://www.amazon.ca/What-Goth-Voltaire/dp/1578633222  I recommend it.

  5. One correction The facade of the Abbey of Saint Denis is shown as an example of a facade, with the statement that Gothic facades were asymmetrical, followed later by a comparative statement that Romanesque facades were symmetrical. This in inaccurate. A symmetrical facade was always the intention. The asymmetry of a Gothic Cathedral facade can occur in three ways, all of which are very straightforward.
    1. The plan was symmetrical but the second tower was never finished above the roof-line.
    2. The building was symmetrical but one tower fell down.
    3. Building halted after the first tower was constructed, and when it began again, perhaps 100 years later, styles had changed a great deal and the committee decided on something more modern, perhaps with the intention of replacing the earlier tower in due course, but this did not eventuate (Chartres Cathedral)
    On the ther hand, Gothic domestic architecture is often asymmetrical.

  6. Suggestion for a video, Romanticism vs. Baroque or separate topics. Is there a video on Romanesque? I have trouble identifying between each.

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