The rich history of Gothic architecture may be broken down into three separate periods: early, high, and late. Each is distinguished by distinct design features, aesthetics, and engineering advances. Saint-Denis Basilica in Saint-Denis, France. Early Gothic architecture was popular between the years 1120 and 1200. It can be identified by its simple forms, straight lines, and rectilinear plans. The most important early architect was Abbé Suger, who built the famous cathedral of Saint-Denis.
High Gothic architecture began around 1220 and continued until about 1380. It can be recognized by its larger size, more complex designs, and increased use of decorative elements like sculpture and painting on buildings' exteriors. The leading High Gothic architects were Frenchmen Benoît Fontaine (1210-1290) and Jean de Beauvais (1235-1323).
Late Gothic architecture started around 1380 and continues to the present day. It can be seen in many large churches built in Europe during this time period. The style is characterized by its dramatic increase in size from the early to late medieval period; the vastness of Late Gothic cathedrals provides a contrast to the intimacy of early Christian churches.
Examples of Gothic architecture can be found throughout Europe, but especially in England, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.
The Saint Denis Abbey Church The Abbey Church of Saint Denis was built in the 12th century by Abbot Suger and is considered the earliest Gothic edifice. It is located near Paris, on the Île de Saint-Denis.
The building follows a basilica plan with four equal arms, each one shorter than the next. The nave is divided into three sections by two rows of columns. The upper part of the church was used by the monks while the lower part was left for parish priests who were responsible for the poor people of Saint Denis. The transepts are narrower than the nave and end with a small chapel. The abbey was also home to some of the most important libraries of its time. Today, it is one of the largest churches in Paris and has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.
The name "Gothic" comes from the French word _gothique_ which means gaunt or skeletal. This style of architecture became popular around 1150 and lasted until about 1350. During that time, many large churches and monasteries were built all over Europe, especially in England and France. They were meant to replace the old Roman buildings which had been destroyed during several wars.
Gothic architecture (or pointed architecture) was a popular architectural style in Europe from the late 12th century through the 16th century, spanning the High and Late Middle Ages, with some examples surviving into the 17th and 18th centuries. Buildings in this style are sometimes called gothic structures or just structures.
Gothic architecture is characterized by an emphasis on height and visibility, often including flying buttresses and other features to facilitate ventilation and reduce weight. The pointed arch is the most distinctive feature of Gothic architecture, which also includes ribbed vaults and windows with lancet-shaped tops. The word "gothic" comes from the German Götterdämmerung ("god's twilight"), named after the night scene in Goethe's Faust II.
During the Gothic period, Europe was transformed from being an agricultural society to one dominated by cities and industry. As part of this transformation, many large churches were built as places for royalty and nobility to be venerated and prayers answered. These churches often included special facilities for servants who worked at the palace or castle where they were serving, such as chapels or hospitals. There were also small monasteries for monks or nuns to practice their religion in private. Cities grew rapidly and many public services were needed: water supply, sewage systems, lighting, fire fighting, police forces, and transport infrastructure such as roads and bridges.
It sprang from Romanesque architecture and was followed by Renaissance architecture. From the 12th century until the 16th century, Gothic architecture was known as Opus Francigenum ("French labor"), with the name Gothic first emerging during the latter half of the Renaissance. During this time, France and Germany were the only countries who used Gothic as their official architectural style.
Gothic architecture took inspiration from ancient Rome and Jerusalem, with scholars believing that some French architects may have visited those cities. They also borrowed ideas from Arab scientists who had begun to explore Europe back in the early 11th century. The most famous of these scientists was Al-Jazari, who has been called the "Leonardo da Vinci" of his time for his extensive knowledge on anatomy and engineering.
In France, the first Gothic buildings were churches, such as the Notre-Dame de Paris (finished in 1163). These churches were composed of a nave and two aisles, with an open roof structure. Inside the church, there would be large stained-glass windows, and outside there might be small towers or spires.
In Germany, the first Gothic buildings were royal castles, such as the Burg Hohenzollern in Stralsund (built between 1230 and 1240). These castles featured high walls, arrow slits, and large doors for soldiers.
Gothic style architecture was developed in the 13th century across Europe, including England. It is so named because it takes its design from the Gothic cathedral. The main features are pointed arches, vaults, and windows with stained glass. The style also includes elements such as towers, spires, and porches.
Canterbury Cathedral is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Europe. It was built between 1220 and 1515 by Archbishop William de Mandeville to replace an earlier church on the site. The first stage of the new cathedral was completed in 1220, but work continued until the final stone was laid in 1515. It took nearly two centuries to complete the building, which at the time was considered a miracle given the size and complexity of the project. The central tower was not built until 1413. The total cost of the cathedral has been estimated at around $140 million in today's money. It has been cited as one of the most expensive buildings ever constructed.
The original plan for the cathedral was very ambitious: build a huge church with five aisles and monastic bedrooms for 20 priests. The project was never completed because of financial difficulties.
The sense of verticality to enhance the connection with God, the Latin cross layout for the plan, open and illuminated interiors with plenty of windows and stained glass, and the gargoyles to drain rainwater and encourage people to enter the church are the main characteristics of French Gothic buildings. The style evolved in France around 1220 - 1280 and was based on Roman models until then used exclusively in Europe. The new style became popular all over Europe, replacing the Romanesque period.
The name "French Gothic" is misleading because it suggests that it was only built in France. In fact, many French churches were rebuilt or remodeled during this time period, using the original features as a guide for how they should look now that the Gothic style had become popular again after being out of use for several years. Some examples include St. Pierre de Montmartre in Paris and Saint-Sernin in Toulouse. However, because most French churches did not need to be rebuilt, this style comes through very clearly in those that were.
The main difference between French Gothic and English Gothic is that there is much more emphasis placed on light and space within French churches. This is because French architects believed that if you made everything as clear and as open as possible, then God could shine through even darker times. So instead of building small windows with little light behind them, they would build large windows with much brighter lights inside them.