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Gothic Paper Ben

Gothic Paper Ben

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Published by Benjamin Emanuelson
A paper which discusses the history of Gothic Architecture
A paper which discusses the history of Gothic Architecture

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Published by: Benjamin Emanuelson on Sep 28, 2008
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Dr. Ethel Goodstein-MurphreeDr. QuinnDr. StephensHUMN 1124 H: The Equilibrium of Cultures, 500-1600 CE
Gothic Architecture: Origin and Alteration
Benjamin Emanuelson
Gothic Origins
Gothic architecture was born in the beginning of the second millennium, after religious apocalyptic fear in the year 1000. The study of the gothic is timely, as we have,as a global population now entered a third millennium, rich with unknowns. It is veryinteresting how the Gothic Cathedral architecture has inspired conflicting andcompetitive research among historians and technologists since its inception in the earlysecond millennium. This text is merely an overview of Historic origins of Gothicarchitecture and a display of differing viewpoints throughout Time.
Beginnings of the Middle Ages
In order to begin to understand the logic and extremity of Gothic architecture, It isnecessary to consider the social framework responsible for its conception, investigatingtopics from Roman imperialism, to eventual French and German origins and Romanesqueand Gothic beginnings, as well as secular building, and technical bases.
From the Roman period to the late 900’s and Beyond
Gothic Cathedrals throughout Europe can be traced typologically to Rome, andRoman building was present all throughout the Empire, including Britain, of course.According to John Henry Parker, the history of Christian church architecture was begun with the Roman basilica, employing a three-part division of a rectangular plan,later undergoing alterations and additions. It is also important to note the extent of Roman building and techniques in Britain. Here, Roman walls were built in the thirdcentury with large stones, & without mortar, however most roman buildings in Englandwere eventually destroyed by barbarian violence. Evidence of Roman building is found atUriconium, Silchester, and Brixworth. Parker writes that stone church construction (bySt. Wilfrid) can be be found at York, Ripon, and Hexham
(12).
Most of what is nowconsidered to be the middle ages came during and after the fears of religious followers atthe end of the first millennium. This ‘negativity’ was most likely to be attributed to the prophecies of John in the Biblical Book of Revelation.
“It is most probable…also that at this period the Christians in England partook of the general belief of Christendom, that the world was to come to an end in the year 1000, and of thelethargy which accompanied that belief.”
(18)
 
John Henry Parker 
 
It is important to note that after the millennium, church building, especially inItaly and France began to see itself in a new light. The beginning of the eleventh centurycan be thought of as a pre-renaissance. Anglo Saxon building dominated this time periodinitially, but the Norman Romanesque was introduced gradually. In the twelfth century, atransition from the Norman Romanesque to the Early English Gothic was experienced. Inthe thirteenth century, there was a transition to the Decorated Style. The Fourteenthcentury transitioned from the Decorated to the Perpendicular style, according to Parker.
European Revival:Romanesque and Gothic
According to Jotischky and Hull, the term
“Romanesque”
was formed in the 19
th
century as defining Norman Artistic and Architectural misinterpretations following the breakdown of the Carolingian empire, and Gothic architecture was begun in the Ile-de-France. Jotischky and Hull explain that Gothic architecture utilized minimal structure andmaximum glazing, Rayonnant Parisian Gothic emphasized light and decoration, and theFlamboyant style was most concerned with surface decoration. Finally, the perpendicular style utilized flattened grids of rectilinear tracery (
64-65
).
Intellect and Universities
Jotischky and Hull write that secular schools were formed in the last quarter of the12
th
century, receiving initial support from secular rulers as way of separating ‘church andstate’. Theology was taught in Paris, and Law was taught in Bologna. Curricular modelssuch as the Trivium, consisting of Grammar, Rhetoric, and Logic, and the Quadrivium,consisting of Arithmetic, Geometry, Harmonics, and Astronomy were employedincreasingly (
66
). According to a Diagram of Medieval Academic development,Universities were established in Oxford, Cambridge, Lisbon, Coimbra, Seville,Salamanca, Palencia, Lerida, Toulouse, Montpellier, Angers, Paris, Salerno, Naples,Siena, Arezzo, Bologna, Reggio, Piacenza, Vercelli, Vicenza, and Padua prior to 1300(
66-67
).
Medieval Economics
The Medieval Economy increased steadily in cities throughout Europe. By 1300,many cities with a population over 10,000 existed around Northern France, and NorthernItaly. In addition, these zones, as well as the southern Coasts of England were areas of considerable textile manufacturing. Other less populated areas such as northern Poland,Rouen, Eastern Bulgaria, and Palestine were strong in grain production. It is interestingthat wine was exported mostly from western France (Bordeaux Proximity), Lyon, andFrankfurt, but not so much from Italy during this time.
Civil / Military Construction
Viollet-Le-Duc writes that ninth, tenth, and eleventh century “conflagrations”destroying wood towns and villages were some of the main propagators of stone use in“private dwellings as well as churches.” (
275
) In addition, Viollet-Le-Duc mentions thatmortar used by the military was superior to that of the church builders, and that themedieval age generally ignored the use of symmetry, at least with respect to non-religiousconstructions. Through depiction of images, and drawings, Viollet-Le-Duc clarifies that
 
non-ecclesiastical medieval building was massive and overtly thick, despite thestandardized use of wood. Hans Hofstatter, in referencing medieval defensive secular  building, makes an interesting point in writing that the medieval fortresses were intendedto defend areas that were normally the most peaceful, not the battlefields, (
173
) and thatfortress building evolved with respect to detail, but not schema.
Technical Bases of Gothic
Jean Bony, in
“French Gothic Architecture of the 12
th
and 13
th
Centuries”
 
has notedthat many of the defining characteristics of Gothic architecture were already present tosome degree in Romanesque architecture (
7
) and that the use of the rib vault was presentin England and Italy by 1100. This is evidenced by work such as Rivolta D’Adda (
1120
),Durham Cathedral (
1093 AD
), and Lessay (
1120
 
AD
).At Durham, vertical surface articulation is divided into round arches, where as ribvaulting and spatial verticality dominate (
9
). Normandy began to see diagonal rib systemsaround 1125, as proven by Evreux, Lessay, and Jumieges. Bony mentions further that RibVaulting does not make a building Gothic, as tenth century Romanesque History hasreferred to Oriental sources influencing Islamic Spain. Bony also writes that English andItalian Rib Vaulting began shortly after the 1085 capture of Toledo (central Spain) whererib vaulting had been executed in a variety of ways (
13
). Every historian does not holdthis view, however. Bony also states that the pointed arch was known to Romanesque builders, through examples in previously Islamic Sicily, eventually under NormanConquest. The pointed arch was clearly used at Cluny (
1100 AD
). In addition, it isnecessary to note that the St. Etienne church lantern was the birthplace of the eventuallyGothic Triforium, and Norman building prior to 1070 was set on producing an “openskeleton of arches.”Richard Branner, in
 
“Gothic Architecture,”
mentions that by 1400 Gothic had become the “universal” building type in Western Europe, spreading to Scandinavia andlater the Americas. Branner notes that eleventh and twelfth century revival of trade brought about “profound social and economic change” in Italy and Flanders (
11
). Inaddition, it is important to note that earlier isolationist feudalism gave way to a newcosmopolitanism. Furthermore, it is necessary to reference Branner’s description of 
“Abbot Sugers theory of light.”
Suger was a profound proponent of stained glass at St.Denis, for stained glass: was able to bear 
“holy images,”
resemble
“precious stones,”
and glow
“without fire”
(
21
).
The Pointed Arch: Origins
Viollet-Le-Duc claimed that pointed arches eventually saw widespread use because of the immense outward thrust of bases, and that keystones in semicircular arches were likely to sink at times. Viollet-Le-Duc proposes that the pointed arch was notonly present in Greek architecture, (
41
) but also at the invention of the compass as adrawing tool. He further proceeds to praise the perseverance of building schools inFrance, Burgundy, Normandy, and Champagne. Viollet-Le-Duc believed that the porch of Vazelay shows best the transition from Romanesque to Gothic.It was clear that handwork was abundant in the middle ages. Viollet-Le-Ducfurther makes interesting points regarding the nature of a system:

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Josep Gonzàlez added this note
Magnífico artículo sobre el origen y la ambiguedad del Gótico.
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