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Lecture, Gothic Europe

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  • You have probably heard the saying “knowledge is power.” We can very easily apply this saying to an understanding of Gothic art and architecture. If the act of acquiring knowledge is a form of enlightenment, then the patrons and architects of the Gothic period very much took that literally in the design of their buildings. At the heart of Gothic architecture are these two most important words: height and light. These soaring cathedrals and spires built in Gothic Europe realize the age old theme of axis mundi (world pillar, cosmic axis or center of the earth), something we’ve seen from the ancient ziggurats of Babylonia to the skyscrapers of today. They not only attempt to reach the heavens, but to create a semblance of Heaven on Earth. And as you can see in this interior of Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, France, they are often bathed in light, filtered in through elaborate stained-glass windows. For Gothic thinkers, this light not only illuminated the interior, but it symbolically suggested the presence of God on Earth and the knowledge, and salvation, acquired when one is enveloped by it. As we have seen in the lecture on Early Medieval and Romanesque art, the Church was the sole proprietor of this knowledge, both of Christianity and of Classical antiquity, the combination of both we’ve seen in the many syncretic buildings and images made since the fall of the Roman empire. However, as we’ll see toward the end of class today, as the world modernized and moved toward its “Renaissance,” this knowledge will become increasingly more available to an increasingly literate public. Perhaps the more realistic, more familiar painted images of the late Gothic era and early Renaissance exist, in part, because of this?
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    • 1. Gothic Europe Sainte-Chapelle, 1243–1248, Paris
    • 2. Map Europe ca. 1200
    • 3. GothicDates and Places:• 12th to 14th century• Western Europe (begins in France)People:• Growth of urban centers• Sophisticated courts• Scholasticism (universities)• Guilds Plan, abbey church, Saint-• Cult of Virgin Mary Denis, 1140–1144. Fig. 7-3.• Abbot Suger
    • 4. GothicThemes:• Virgin Mary• Life of Christ and saints• Portraits• Secular lifeForms:• Height & light (soaring height Notre-Dame, & open space illuminated by begun 1163 Paris light (Lux nova – new light)• Flying buttresses• Stained glass windows• Rib vaults and pointed arches• Lavish ornament and Sainte-Chapelle, materials 1243–1248.• Increasingly optical approach Paris to figures and space
    • 5. Gothic –TheCathedral Model of the hypostyle hall Temple of Amen-Re Karnak, Egypt, ca. 1290 BCE The Medieval Mind: How to Build a Cathedralhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5u9rjssGJrc&feature=youtu.be
    • 6. Gothic – The CathedralDiagram, Romanesque vs Gothic rib vaultView, Great Mosque, Isfahan, Iran, 11-17th cent. Amiens Cathedral, Nave, begun 1220 CE http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/interactive/animations/arch/index_embed.shtml
    • 7. Gothic: France• Contains relic of Virgin (tunic)• Early Gothic (west façade and towers)• After fire (1194), remainder High Gothic• Towers on heavily ornamented & sculpted westwork & transept portals• Flying buttresses• Large clerestory of stained glass windows• Rose windows• Skeletal support system Chartres Cathedral, Chartres, France, Begun 1134, rebuilt after 1194 http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/Gothic.html
    • 8. Romanesque vs. GothicSaint-Sernin, ca. 1070–1120Toulouse, France, Fig. 6-14. Chartres Cathedral, Chartres, France, Begun 1134, rebuilt after 1194
    • 9. Gothic: FranceAscension of Christ Second Coming Christ & Virgin Mary Royal Portal, West façade, Chartres Cathedral, 1145-1155
    • 10. Gothic: France• Royal Portal on west façade (original)• Kinder, gentler Last Judgment (vs. Romanesque portals)• Cult of Virgin Mary• Jamb statues flanking doors show Old Testament kings & queens• Romanesque linearity (elongated bodies, garment folds, rigidly attached to columns)• New naturalism (individualized Old Testament kings & queens faces) Royal Portal, West façade, Chartres Cathedral, 1145-1155
    • 11. Gothic: France • Independent of architecture • As Christian knight • Greater naturalism • Contrapposto Saint Theodore, jamb statue, south transept portal, Chartres Cathedral, ca. 1230Old Testament kings & queensRoyal Portal, West façade, ChartresCathedral, 1145-1155
    • 12. From Archaic to Classical GreeceKroisos, from Anavysos, Greece, ca. 530 BCE Polykleitos Doryphoros (Spear Bearer) ca. 450 BCE
    • 13. Gothic: France Old Testament kings Virgin & Christ childfleurs-de-lis Rose window, North transept, Chartres Cathedral, ca. 1220. Fig. 7-11.
    • 14. Gothic: France 43’• Stained glass window• Lux nova (new light)• Given by Queen of France to Chartres (fleurs-de-lis)• Stories of the faith• Virgin Mary at center• Surrounded by doves of holy spirit, angels, Old Testament kings• Lancets below (Queen Anne with baby Mary and royal ancestorys of Christ)• Bar tracery (stone armature) Rose window and lancets, Chartres Cathedral, ca. 1220.
    • 15. Gothic:FranceGod as architect of the world, folio 1 verso of moralized Bible, Paris, ca. 1220
    • 16. Gothic:France• Illuminated manuscript• Produced in urban workshops• Luxury books for private patrons• Moralized Bible (pairs Old & New Testament)• God as architect (holding compass)• Sun & moon present, Earth still unformed• Like Medieval cathedral God as architect of the world, builder? folio 1 verso of moralized Bible, ink, tempera, gold leaf on vellum, Paris, ca. 1220
    • 17. Gothic: England ROBERT and WILLIAM VERTUE, WestminsterAbbey, 1503– 1519. Fig. 7-22.
    • 18. Gothic: HolyRomanEmpire Ekkehard and Uta, Naumburg Cathedral, ca. 1249–1255. Fig. 7-25.
    • 19. Gothic: Italy DUCCIO DI BUONINSEGNA, Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints, from 1308–1311. Fig. 7-32.
    • 20. Gothic: Italy• Altarpiece• Wood panels• Civic pride• Cult of the Virgin Mary• Shifting from Italo- DUCCIO DI BUONINSEGNA, Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints, Byzantine to more from 1308–1311. Fig. 7-32. naturalistic style
    • 21. Gothic: ItalyCIMABUE, Madonna Enthroned with Angels and GIOTTO DI BONDONE, MadonnaProphets, ca. 1280–1290, 12’7” x 7’4” Enthroned, ca. 1310, 10’8” x 6’8”
    • 22. Gothic: Italy• Italian humanism (emphasis on human values & interests distinct from otherworldly religious values)• Increasing interest in antiquity and study of Roman sculpture, literature, philosophy, sciences, etc• Growing naturalism of figures and spaces (observation)• Cimabue = Italo-Byzantine Left: CIMABUE, Madonna Enthroned (flat, frontal figures, symmetry with Angels and Prophets, ca. 1280– & patterning, gold) 1290. Fig. 7-28. Right: GIOTTO DI BONDONE, Madonna Enthroned, ca.• Giotto anticipates 1310. Fig. 7-29. Renaissance (3D stability & solidity, mass, figures profile) http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/cimabue-santa-trinita-madonna.html
    • 23. Gothic or Early Renaissance? : Italy Giotto, Arena Chapel, Padua, Italy, 1305-1306
    • 24. Gothic or Early Renaissance? : Italy GIOTTO DI BONDONE, Lamentation, ca. 1305. Arena Chapel
    • 25. Gothic: Italy• Fresco program in family chapel• 38 framed pictures• Registers for 3 narrative cycles (Life of Virgin, Life of Christ, Passion of Christ)• Imitation marble frame• Shallow, illusionistic space for narrative (implied lines)• Symbolism (Tree of knowledge of good & evil)• Focus dynamically off center• Naturalistic treatment of figures (light & shade)• Drapery reveals body mass• Figures seen from back• Emotional expression & gesture (grief)• Like contemporary mystery playshttp://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/giottos-lamentation.html
    • 26. Gothic: Italy ARNOLFO DI CAMBIO and others, Florence Cathedral, begun 1296. Fig. 7-36.
    • 27. Gothic: Italy• Regional variation of Gothic in Italy• Florence a dominant city- state• Civic project (intended to hold entire city population)• Basilican church• Marble incrustation• Campanile (bell tower) by Giotto ARNOLFO DI CAMBIO and others, Florence Cathedral, begun 1296.• Compartmentalized clarity Fig. 7-36. of architectural parts• Anticipates Renaissance• Dome not present until 15th century

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