Gothic Light & Space

Final essay, Compendium of Knowledge, all extra credit and revisions due. Phew!
St. John the Evangelist from the Gospel Book of Abbot Wedcricus, 1147.











Age of Cathedrals


Interior of Saint-Denis, France, 1140 - 1144.






















Saint Dionysius (Denis in French) at Notre Dame
Abbot Suger at Saint Denis Cathedral












West façade Saint-Denis, France, 1140 - 1144.












Nave and choir glass, Saint-Denis, France, 1140 - 1144.













Characteristics of Gothic Cathedrals:
Towering structure
Masonry rib vaults
Pointed arches
Flying buttresses
Mystical interiors illuminated with stained glass
Apse, Saint-Denis, France, 1140 - 1144.











Chartres utilizes all of the hallmark
High Gothic structural devices:
Four part nave vaults braced by flying buttresses
Three-story elevation (arcade, triforium, clerestory)
Stained-glass windows
West façade Chartres Cathedral, France, ca. 1145 - 1155.












flying buttress = an arch built on the exterior of a building that transfers the thrust of the roof vaults at important points through the wall and eventually to the ground
Flying buttresses, Chartres Cathedral, built after 1194 fire.












Virgin and Child and angels (Notre Dame de la Belle Verriere), detail of choir window, Chartres Cathedral, ca. 1170 with 13th century side panels.
Rose Window of the west façade Chartres Cathedral, ca. 1220.












Chartres Choir and Choir Screen











  • Eleven tracks, or rows
  • Four quadrants - represents the body and the material world, four points on the compass, four gospels/ four evangelists
  • Three - the holy trinity; represents the soul
  • Seven - (four + three, material world + holy realm) considered the perfect number; because seven is the first number from 1 to 10 that neither generates, nor is generated by another number it symbolizes the Virgin
The labyrinth is an ideogram of the path man must travel in himself to be worthy of what the cathedral itself stands for.
Chartres Labyrinth











Royal Portal, west façade Chartres Cathedral, ca. 1145 - 1155.











Robert de Luzarches, Thomas de Cormont, and Renaud de Cormont, west façade, Amiens Cathedral,
begun 1220 and continued through 15th century.


Amiens 360





















Robert de Luzarches, Thomas de Cormont, and Renaud de Cormont, Amiens Cathedral,
begun 1220 and continued through 15th century.











Early Christian
The Good Shepard, the Story of Jonah, and orants, painted ceiling of the Catacomb of Saints Peter and Marcellinus, early 4th century.
Christ as Pantokrator, dome mosaic in the Church of the Dormition, Daphne, Greece, ca. 1090 - 1100.
Christ (Beau Dieu), West façade of Amiens Cathedral,  ca. 1220 - 1235.










Gaucher de Reims and Bernard de Soissons, west façade of Reims Cathedral, France, ca. 1225 - 1290.











Annunciation and Visitation, jamb statues on the right side of the central doorway of the west façade,
Reims Cathedral, France, ca. 1220 - 1255.











Naumburg Master, Ekkehard and Uta, statues in the west choir, Naumburg Cathedral, Germany, ca. 1249 - 1255.











Salisbury Cathedral, England, 1220 - 1258.











Typical Characteristics of English cathedrals:
Square apse
Spacious sanctuary
Heavy walls
Horizontal emphasis
Interior of Salisbury Cathedral, England, 1220 - 1258.











French Gothic
English Gothic
Robert de Luzarches, Thomas de Cormont, and Renaud de Cormont, west façade, Amiens Cathedral, begun 1220 and continued through 15th century.
West façade, Salisbury Cathedral, England, 1220 - 1258.











Late English Gothic - Perpendicular Style


Gloucester Cathedral Choir, England, 1332 - 1357.











Gloucester Cathedral Cloister, England, 1332 - 1357.











Robert and William Vertue, fan vaults of the chapel of Henry VII, Westminister Abbey, London, England, 1503 - 1519.











(mid 13th century)

(through 16th century)
destinctive tracery patterns
flamelike and radiant
Beauvais Cathedral, France, rebuilt after 1284.
Church of Saint Ouen, Rouen Cathedral, France, 1202 - 1880.
Church of Saint Maclou, France, 1436 - 1521.











Christine and Justice

Christine de Pizan
1364 - 1430
When her husband died, Christine turned to writing for income
She supported herself, her mother and her three children with her writings
Christine De Pizan is the first known woman in western literature to make a living off of her art
Christine with Justice, 15th century.











Christine de Pizan, Opening Page of the Book of the City of Ladies, 1405.











De Pizan presenting work to Queen Isabeu of Bavaria, 1410 - 1411.










Roettgen Pieta, Germany, ca. 1300 - 1325.


pieta = Italian for pity or piety; a representation of the Virgin grieving over the dead Christ











15th century intellectuals were aware of the great changes of their age and became the first people to name their own time

School of Athens

Renascita = rebirth
Inspired by newly discovered ancient ruins, artworks and texts, Renaissance intellectuals declared the Classic world the height of western civilization thus far.
But, they always made clear that their civilization would be better...
Raphael, School of Athens, ca. 1510-11.











Humanism = a cultural and intellectual movement during the Renaissance, following the rediscovery of the art and literature of ancient Greece and Rome. A philosophy or attitude concerned with the interests, achievements and capabilities of human beings rather than with the abstract concepts and problems of theology.
Michelangelo, Pieta, Saint Peter's Basilica, 1498 - 1499.











Characteristics of Renaissance art:

Ghent Adam and Eve

Reflects admiration of classic art
Sense of stability and order
Emphasis on logic and reason
Idealized form

Jan van Eyck, Adam and Eve
(details of the Ghent Altarpiece), 1432.











Giotto di Bondone, The Lamentation, Arena Chapel, Italy, ca. 1305.  Fresco.











Vasari credited Giotto with “setting art upon the path that may be called the true one [for he] learned to draw accurately from life and thus put an end to the crude Greek manner.”
Giotto di Bondone, detail of The Lamentation, Arena Chapel, Italy, ca. 1305.  Fresco.