Friday, May 7, 2010

Gothic Light

Light was an important aspect of Gothic architecture. Light represented more and served a greater purpose than just being used as illumination. Oftentimes, large glass windows were used in Gothic cathedrals and allowed light to stream in inspiring those attending a service. However, not only was clear glass used but stained glass also. This was often considered by architectures to be more inspiring. The outside light would stream in through the windows and transform the look of the cathedral. This wasn't just "neat" or "cool" but was spiritual. The stained glass windows frequently were created with the subject of a Bible story as their theme. Because of this, when the light would come through the stained glass windows, even though the room was dim, the light became almost holy. This was considered a mystical and mysterious experience for those who attended the church. The stained glass was made from very bright colors and the stories etched into them were inspiring. Before this, many mosaics and paintings were used to tell stories and display the narratives of the Bible. Stained glass could have been considered more personal than the previous methods because people were in the midst of the light coming in; they weren't just looking at an image.
I have always liked stained glass and the effect it gives to a room. I've never thought about the light streaming through the glass as being a spiritual experience, but it's a neat thought. I can imagine the excitement when stain glass was beginning to be used in churches and can see the beauty the use of it added to Gothic cathedrals.

No comments: