Saturday, May 2, 2009

The role of light in Gothic Art and Architecture

Originating in France, Gothic art began to evolve after the Romanesque era. The style began in the 12th century and lasted until the 16th century. Up until the 19th century Gothic art was considered derogatory and barbarous, after that people began to realize the true beauty regarding the style. Gothic art can be characterized by light and space. Saint-Chapelle’s church in Paris is one example of how the element of light played such a major role in Gothic architecture. Colored stained glass windows were used not only to let light in, but were used to transform natural light to make a dramatic effect. They were attempting to create a spiritual essence in the church with the use of light. Accomplishing a sense of weightlessness and transparency in what seemed to be paradise. The Romans designed the arch which the Gothic’s also used but with a little twist in order to distribute the massive weight down to the bottom of the structure. The Gothic’s made the arch into a sharp point to achieve more height and an intimidating appearance. The Gothic’s built their buildings with heavy stone and glass making them look as if they were light and airy. The light created a stronger spiritual and God-like feel in the church. The Gothic’s achieved their goals with this beautiful style turning the material world into a spiritual wonder. The church of Sanit-Chapelle’s is truly a magnificent piece of Gothic history that shows what the combination of art and light can create.

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