The Gothic style began in France with the choir of the Basilique Saint-Denis, which was constructed by Abbot Suger and dedicated in June 1144. The most important feature of the Early Gothic era (c. 1180-1250) was the lancet, a pointed arch, which resulted in beautiful structures with smaller walls and greater light. It was also during this time that churches began to be built with a nave and a transept instead of a single large chamber. The Late Gothic style (c. 1270-1520) brought more symmetry to church design and the use of flat surfaces instead of piers as support for the roof. The Dutch and Flemish schools of painting contributed many great masters to the evolution of Gothic art.
Gothic architecture rapidly spread from France across Europe, especially after the discovery of America. By the late 15th century, new styles had evolved, including Mannerist and Baroque. But the Gothic spirit remained strong in the thinking of architects such as Christopher Wren and Robert Adam, who designed buildings in the early 17th century in the English Baroque style. In 1874, an international exhibition in Vienna showed how widely Gothic ideas had traveled, because many countries' representatives submitted designs in this style. The most famous of these is probably St. Peter's in Rome, which has some similarities with Suger's basilica at Saint-Denis.
The Gothic style came back into fashion in the 19th century with the revival movement in Christianity.
The Saint Denis Abbey Church The Abbey Church of Saint Denis was built in the 12th century by Abbot Suger and is considered the first Gothic edifice. It was later modified in the 15th century under the direction of King Henry VII. Today, it is a national monument.
Other early Gothic structures in France:
The Notre-Dame de Paris (1163-1245) Built for the French monarchy, this church was originally known as the Cathedral of Our Lady because it was the main cathedral of the city at the time it was being constructed. It has been called La Dame (the lady) des Landes (the lady of the lands) because it was believed to have been the model for many other Gothic cathedrals including those of Canterbury and Prague. Today, it is one of the most beautiful examples of French Gothic architecture.
The Basilica of St. John the Baptist (1220-1253) Located in Marseille, this church was built as part of the new town of Marseille after it was destroyed by fire. It contains some of the most beautiful stained glass in France created by Charles Joseph Parrocel between 1866 and 1872.
The Abbey Church of Saint Denis was built in the 12th century by Abbot Suger and is considered the first Gothic edifice. The abbey was destroyed during the French Revolution but its ruins have been preserved for public viewing since 1816.
The term "Gothic" comes from a German word meaning "German," because the style became popular among German-speaking Christians in Europe. However, many buildings with Gothic features were constructed before Germany had a national identity, so "Gothic" can also refer to styles that evolved in France or Italy.
Examples of pre-12th-century Gothic buildings include those at Burgundy's Cluny Abbey and Le Mans' Cathedral. Examples from Italy include Padua's University Library and Venice's Ca' d'Oro. In France, churches built after 1150 include those at Étampes, Melun, and Montrichard. Churches built between 1200 and 1250 include those at Glandévesse, Pont-l'Évêque, and Valfleury. The largest church in France built in this era is Notre-Dame de Paris (1163–1300).
After 1250, large churches began to be built all over France.
He restored the eastern end of his church, the abbey of Saint-Denis, between 1140 and 1144. It would be followed by a sequence of towering Gothic churches in Paris, including Notre-Dame Cathedral, Soissons, Chartres, Bourges, Reims, and Amiens, as the original and most influential construction project in the innovative Gothic fashion. The Gothic style was first conceived by Bernard de Clairvaux and then developed by Henry II and his sons until it reached its peak under Louis XII.
The first Gothic church in Europe was the French church at Vézelay. Built in the early 12th century, its unique style inspired many later French churches. The original structure was replaced around 1200 by a larger one with more elaborate decorations. It stood until 1605 when it too was destroyed by fire. Today only its base remains.
In England, there are only fragments of early Gothic buildings remaining today. However, the style is evident in English cathedrals such as York Minster, Lincoln Cathedral, and Ely Cathedral built later in the 13th century. In France, Germany, and Italy, however, the Gothic style continued to evolve after the early 12th century.
One of the earliest surviving examples of Gothic architecture in Europe is the Basilica di San Francesco d'Assisi in Assisi, Italy. Construction on this church began in 1184 and it was completed four years later.
Initially, Gothic architecture was referred to as "the French Style" (Opus Francigenum). In the 1530s, an Italian scholar called Giorgio Vasari coined the term "Gothic" because he believed that buildings from the Middle Ages were not as properly planned and measured as Renaissance or ancient Rome architecture. However, this is incorrect because many medieval buildings have been found to use standard plans with some modifications rather than completely new designs.
Through history, many cultures have contributed to the development of Gothic design elements including Arabs, Chinese, Indians, and even Europeans. The word "Gothic" comes from the German language and means "giant". This refers to the height of many Gothic buildings compared to those of classical design. Although Gothic design elements can be found in various parts of Europe, it is common for a region's architecture to show clear influences from one major city where stylistic developments occurred early on.
In conclusion, the Gothic style got its name because of its resemblance to medieval Gothic artistry.
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 named for their resemblance to pointed Gothic churches, such as the Strasbourg Cathedral. They usually have high-peaked roofs with overhanging eaves and often include pinnacles and finials. The earliest known record of the term is in an 1849 book by Francis Hill called Historical Collections of Louisiana: "The buildings around which it [New Orleans] is now built were formerly Indian villages, whose Gothic or pointed architecture shows that they had been inhabited by French or Spanish settlers."
In North America, the first Gothic hotels may have been built by French colonists in the early 19th century. The name "Gothic" was probably given because of the distinctive pointed archway entranceways and steeply pitched slate or wooden shingled roofs that resemble those of medieval European churches. These features are still found on many Gothic-style hotels today. By the mid-19th century, most large cities in the United States had at least one Gothic hotel, which were generally used by travelers visiting nearby tourist attractions such as museums, gardens, and battlefields. Some modern architects have incorporated Gothic elements into new building designs they create, sometimes calling these new structures "Gothic-inspired".