Saturday, May 2, 2009

The role of light in the the gothic era

The Gothic age came immediately after the Romanesque age, and lasted from the 1100's to the 1500's. The Gothic architects took what they say in the Romanesque buildings and greatly dramatised certain physical aspects. Gothic architects began a quest for Height that marked what was called the High Gothic period. Some examples of this dramatic height Amiens in France and Chartres Cathedral. Soaring height were created with the structural support of flying buttresses surrounding the feature and a by eliminating all horizontal lines that would break the pattern of of such vertical design features. All walls were broke up by pointed arches and double and even triplet placements of lancet windows. Lancet windows are vertical windows that come to a point at the top. The continuation of putting wholes in the all flat panels of the cathedral walls along with the use of double and triplet lancet windows gave Gothic cathedral a very open and light feeling to the viewer. The Gothic architects tried every wall-dissolving style they could think of including the pointed arches and lancet windows. Lancet windows were often stained glass that when the sun hits just right provides a outrageous amount of color to be infused into the structure. This is also the time when Rose windows were being used as another way to provide inner light. Rose windows were huge circular panes of colored glass usually placed in the facade above the entry way to the church. The use of light gives the super heavy Gothic structures a feeling of lightness and feels its halls with bright light that was not a common theme in the Romanesque era. In manuscripts written in the Gothic era the use of gold leaf was becoming more and more common. Folio 8 recto of a moralized Bible from Paris is a perfect example of how the architecture defined the times, and how gold leaf was used to brighten the page and provide a almost glowing background light for the figures in the design. The art that came out of the Gothic era was full of light and attempts to show the glory of God through the use of bright lighting, soaring architectural height, and the use of colorful stained glass windows. They attempted to create heaven on earth with their churches and they did an unparalleled, outstanding job!

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