Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The role of Light in Gothic Art and Architecture

Light plays an important role in Gothic art and architecture. The most magnificent characteristics of Gothic style were the use of light and relationship between structure and appearance. One main element in Gothic churches are its large windows. This introduction of windows became evident as soon as the elaborate rib vaults had. The Gothic church displayed a visual attempt to leave behind the mysterious world of the Romanesque, and create a setting that was drawn toward light and purity that could be an image of heaven. The middle class also had a great influence on the Gothic style as they desired churches that could reflect their economic power and social status.

Huge windows were set into walls, allowing light to shine through stained glass. Wall surfaces of High Gothic churches thus have the appearance of transparent and weightless curtains. The spiritual and mysterious quality of light is an important element of the religious symbolism of Gothic cathedrals. The belief in divine light and the powers it contained had a great deal to do with how Gothic cathedrals were constructed. Gothic architects solved the problem of very little light coming through the windows, by creating larger windows that added to the form of huge buildings.

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