Gothic cathedrals are the equivalent of city skyscrapers today therein they dominate the skyline and emphasize verticality. Why, in both contexts, is height such a crucial factor? what’s achieved with height?
Gothic cathedrals are more often than not very tall. In fact, they’re the equivalent of city scrapers today because they dominate the skyline and emphasize vertically. Church leaders sought an style of architecture that may create a way of awe within the power and majesty of God for anyone that went into such churches (Toman, 520). Master masons designed and constructed the cathedrals with the aim of making uninterrupted vertical space in their structures. These great heights formed a dramatic interior that served the purpose of reinforcing the power of God and the church.
2. Vasari described Gothic as an “anti-Classical” style, hence the derogatory term “Goths.” But does Gothic architecture truly destroy the Classical examples of the Roman Empire? In what ways, if any, does the Gothic build on Roman art?
Gothic architecture did not evolve from ‘dying’ Romanesque traditions, but from a style that was very popular. This shift came about in an era of much political and intellectual development of the Catholic Church. However, gothic architecture does not necessarily destroy examples of the Roman Empire in that it incorporates some of the Romanesque characteristics (Zanker, 214). Moreover, gothic style builds on the Roman art in that some styles such as vertical shafts, compound piers, and clustered columns are an improvement of the latter.
3. Explain what you think are the most important technological innovations and cultural factors that made the “Age of the Cathedrals” possible.
Master masons made use of three key innovations to form the gothic style which in turn made the ‘Age of Cathedrals’ possible. These innovations include the ribbed vault, flying buttress, and the pointed arch. The use of ribbed vaults created a sense of lightness and height in the building whereas flying buttress supplemented the strength of the structure.
4. Choose one manuscript discussed in this chapter and analyze how its illumination was used to convey complex theological ideas and teach moral lessons.
One such example is the Opening of Psalm 1 in the Windmill Psalter. Illumination of manuscripts was used to pass theological concepts during the Gothic period. This was achieved by weaving a number of ideas and stories into single illuminations as was the case in the example above. As seen in the first two pages, the letter b is achieved by weaving a lot of pictures in and around it. Biblical tales of Solomon and the story of the creation of Adam and Eve are included. These different stories as well as others when put together provoked the viewers and portrayed complex theological ideas5. Identify the three works of art in this chapter that were commissioned by French King Louis IX. Discuss their relationship to this political life and aspirations.
French King Louis IX built many churches and religious houses. The most celebrated being the Sainte-Chapelle that was built to house his relics such as the Image of Edessa, Crown of Thorns and other items. These works of art were of great significance to his ambitions and political life. His architectural and artistic patronage helped in placing him as the central monarch of the western Christendom.
6. What is a Buon Fresco? In essence, explain how the process works in making art.
This is a painting technique that dates back to the post-classical period. Buon Fresco is a painting art whereby alkaline-resistant pigments that are ground in water are applied to wet plaster (Toman, 520). After some time, the wet plaster reacts with air to fix the pigments particles ate the surface of the plaster. It is very durable but must be created quickly while avoiding mistakes.
7. What is a Fleur-de-lis?It is a device or emblem which is mainly used in heraldry and ornamentation and has over the years been associated with the French crown. In addition to that, it has been the symbol of purity in the Roman Catholic Church as it is also related to the sanctity of Mary.
8. What is a Flying Buttress?
Flying buttress is an architectural feature mainly observed in the medieval structural designs (Toman, 520). Furthermore, it is a masonry element which projects from walls of any given structure to a pier that provides support to vaults, roofs or domes.
9. What is a Panel Painting?
This is a type of painting achieved on flat panels made of wood ( Toman, 520). It can either be a single piece or a number of sections joined together10. What is a Triforium?
This is an arched gallery within the thickness of inner walls, and that is shallow in nature (Toman, 520). A triforium forms significant architectural divisions in naves of churches or cathedrals.
Toman.R. Gothic: Architecture, Sculpture, Painting. Potsdam, Germany. H.F. Ullman, 2010: 520. Print.
Zanker.P. Roman Art. Los Angeles. Getty Publications, 2012: 214. Print.