Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Gothic (Part Six).


Text and Illustrations from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia,
unless otherwise stated.


File:Bristol.cathedral.nave.arp.jpg

Bristol Cathedral, England.
Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity.
[Editor: A new Nave, harmonious in style with the Eastern End, 
was added between 1868 and 1877 by George Edmund Street.]

The unique "Lierne" Vaulting of the Choir and Tower 
can be seen here from Street's Nave, 
with clustered Columns and Purbeck Marble Shafts.
Photo: April 2005.
Source: Own work.
Author: Adrian Pingstone Arpingstone.
(Wikimedia Commons)


The Depressed, or Four-Centred Arch, is much wider than its height and gives the visual effect of having been flattened under pressure. Its structure is achieved by drafting two arcs, which rise steeply from each springing point on a small radius, and then turn into two Arches, with a wide radius and much lower springing point.

This type of Arch, when employed as a window opening, lends itself to very wide spaces, provided it is adequately supported by many narrow vertical Shafts. These are often further braced by horizontal Transoms. The overall effect produces a grid-like appearance of regular, delicate, rectangular forms with an emphasis on the perpendicular. It is also employed as a wall decoration, in which Arcade and window openings form part of the whole decorative surface.


File:Gloucester Cathedral Cloisters 2013.jpeg

The Gloucester Cathedral Cloisters 
are the earliest surviving Fan Vaults, 
having been constructed in the Mid-14th-Century. 
The Cloisters were used in several of the Harry Potter films.
Photo: 29 August 2013.
Source: Own work.
Author: Saffron Blaze.
Permission: Outside of Wikimedia Foundation projects, 
attribution is to be made to:
W. Lloyd MacKenzie, via Flickr @ 
(Wikimedia Commons)


The style, known as Perpendicular, that evolved from this treatment, is specific to England, although very similar to contemporary Spanish style in particular, and was employed to great effect through the 15th-Century and first half of the 16th-Century, as Renaissance styles were much slower to arrive in England than in Italy and France.

It can be seen notably at the East End of Gloucester Cathedral, where the East Window is said to be as large as a tennis court. There are three very famous Royal Chapels and one Chapel-like-Abbey which show the style at its most elaborate: King's College Chapel, Cambridge; Saint George's Chapel, Windsor; Henry VII's Chapel at Westminster Abbey; and Bath Abbey. However, very many simpler buildings, especially Churches built during the Wool boom in East Anglia, are fine examples of the style.


File:King's College Chapel, Cambridge 06.jpg

King's College Chapel, 
Cambridge, England.
Photo: 4 July 2012.
Source: Own work.
(Wikimedia Commons)


The Gothic Cathedral represented the Universe, in microcosm, and each architectural concept, including the loftiness and huge dimensions of the structure, were intended to convey a Theological message: The great glory of God. The building becomes a microcosm in two ways: Firstly, the mathematical and geometrical nature of the construction is an image of the orderly Universe, in which an underlying rationality and logic can be perceived;

Secondly, the Statues, sculptural decoration, Stained Glass and murals incorporate the essence of Creation, in depictions of the Labours of the Months, and the Zodiac, and Sacred History from the Old and New Testaments and Lives of the Saints, as well as reference to the Eternal in the Last Judgment and Coronation of the Virgin.

The decorative schemes usually incorporated Biblical stories, emphasising visual typological allegories between Old Testament Prophecy and the New Testament.


File:Westminster Abbey Chapter House 11.jpg

English: Chapter House of Westminster Abbey, London. 14th-Century Wall Paintings.
Deutsch: Wandmalereien im Kapitelhaus der Westminster Abbey London.
Photo: 27 September 2012.
Source: Own work.
(Wikimedia Commons)


Many Churches were very richly decorated, both inside and out. Sculpture and architectural details were often bright, with coloured paint, of which traces remain at the Cathedral of Chartres. Wooden ceilings and panelling were usually brightly coloured. Sometimes, the Stone Columns of the Nave were painted, and the panels in decorative Wall Arcading contained narratives or figures of Saints. These have rarely remained intact, but may be seen at the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey.

Some important Gothic Churches could be severely simple, such as the Basilica of Mary Magdalene, in Saint-Maximin, Provence, France, where the local traditions of the sober, massive, Romanesque architecture were still strong.


File:Gloucester Cathedral Setting Sun.jpg

Gloucester Cathedral, England,
lit by the setting Sun.
Photo: 4 May 2011.
Source: Own work.
Author: Saffron Blaze.
Permission: Outside of Wikimedia Foundation projects, 
attribution is to be made to:
W. Lloyd MacKenzie, via Flickr @ 
(Wikimedia Commons)


Wherever Gothic architecture is found, it is subject to local influences, and frequently the influence of itinerant stonemasons and artisans, carrying ideas between cities and sometimes between countries. Certain characteristics are typical of particular regions and often override the style itself, appearing in buildings hundreds of years apart.

The distinctive characteristic of French Cathedrals, and those in Germany and Belgium that were strongly influenced by them, is their height and their impression of verticality. Each French Cathedral tends to be stylistically unified in appearance, when compared with an English Cathedral, where there is great diversity in almost every building. They are compact, with slight or no projection of the Transepts and subsidiary Chapels. The West Fronts are highly consistent, having three Portals, surmounted by a Rose Window, and two large Towers. Sometimes, there are additional Towers on the Transept Ends. The East End is polygonal, with Ambulatory and, sometimes, a Chevette of Radiating Chapels. In the South of France, many of the major Churches are without Transepts and some are without Aisles.


File:Picardie Amiens2 tango7174.jpg

English: Amiens Cathedral, Somme, Picardie, France. The Chancel.
Français: Notre-Dame d'Amiens, Somme, Picardie, France. Le chœur.
Photo: 2 September 2008.
Source: Own work.
Author: Tango7174.
(Wikimedia Commons)


The distinctive characteristic of English Cathedrals is their extreme length, and their internal emphasis upon the horizontal, which may be emphasised visually, as much, or more than, the vertical lines. Each English Cathedral (with the exception of Salisbury Cathedral) has an extraordinary degree of stylistic diversity, when compared with most French, German and Italian Cathedrals. 

It is not unusual for every part of the building to have been built in a different century, and in a different style, with no attempt at creating a stylistic unity. Unlike French Cathedrals, English Cathedrals sprawl across their sites, with Double Transepts projecting strongly, and Lady Chapels tacked on at a later date. 

In the West Front, the doors are not as significant as in France, the usual congregational entrance being through a Side Porch. The West Window is very large and never a Rose Window, which are reserved for the Transept Gables. The West Front may have two Towers, like a French Cathedral, or none. There is nearly always a Tower at The Crossing and it may be very large and surmounted by a Spire. The distinctive English East End is square, but it may take a completely different form. Both Internally and Externally, the stonework is often richly decorated with carvings, particularly the Capitals.


File:Avranches, Église Notre-Dame-des-Champs 01.JPG

English: Avranches Cathedral, France.
Français: Église Notre-Dame-des-Champs, Avranches, France.
Photo: 17 April 2011.
Source: Own work.
Author: Mattana.
(Wikimedia Commons)


File:Avranches, Église Notre-Dame-des-Champs 08.JPG

English: Avranches Cathedral, France.
Français: Église Notre-Dame-des-Champs, Avranches, France.
Photo: 17 April 2011.
Source: Own work.
Author: Mattana.
(Wikimedia Commons)


Romanesque architecture in Germany, Poland, The Czech Republic, and Austria, is characterised by its massive and modular nature. This is expressed in the Gothic architecture of Central Europe in the huge size of the Towers and Spires, often projected, but not always completed.

The West Front generally follows the French formula, but the Towers are very much taller, and, if complete, are surmounted by enormous Openwork Spires that are a regional feature. Because of the size of the Towers, the section of the façade that is between them may appear narrow and compressed. 

The Eastern End follows the French form. The distinctive character of the Interior of German Gothic Cathedrals is their breadth and openness. This is the case even when, as at Cologne Cathedral, they have been modelled upon a French Cathedral. German Cathedrals, like the French, tend not to have strongly projecting Transepts. There are also many Hall Churches (Hallenkirchen) without Clerestory windows.


PART SEVEN FOLLOWS.


2 comments:

  1. A wonderful image of a Mass at Amiens Cathedral: http://civitas-dei.eu/amiens_mass.jpg

    It is Mass in the presence of the bishop according to the local rite (note the cantors in copes and the bishop at the throne).

    One detail I love in this image is the canons of the cathedral chatting among themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, The Rad Trad, for this wonderful image.

    Besides illustrating the sheer beauty of Amiens Cathedral, it makes one think that, if this were at Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen, the MC would be having words with the chattering canons after Mass !!!

    ReplyDelete

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