VAH1041 Chapter 11

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Visual Arts History
Visual Arts History 1040
Kathryn Brush

Chapter 11: Gothic Art - Emerged in 12 C Île-de-France during growth of French monarch power o In 100 years, 2700 churches built - Advances in building technology  larger windows, loftier vaults - “Gothic” attributed to Goths’ destruction of Classicism (by 16 C Giorgio Vasari) - 12 -13 C: EU rigorous growth and prosperity; two religions arose o Franciscans o Dominicans - Increasing contact with Byzantine and Islamic  access to Classical antiquity (i.e., Aristotle: rationalism) - Divine harmony in geometric relationships  lifelike forms & naturalization (unlike Romanesque stylization and distortion) & harnessing natural world (esp. light) - In Gothic cathedrals: earthly experience & divine light - Gothic: always points up while Romanesque: rounded - All contribute to open-concept space, not so compartmentalized as in Romanesque Gothic Art in France ABBEY CHUstH (Basilica) OF SAINT-DENIS (1130) France - 1 Gothic building (& developed royal significance); old ideas in new way - St. Denis: early Christian martyr sent from Rome to convert Pagans - Under Abbot Suger; who claimed older Romanesque building inadequate for accommodations o Inspiration from Dionysus  “radiant light = physical manifestation of God” - Retains key Romanesque feature - Dramatic achievement: coordinated use of features to create architectural whole emphasized open, flowing space, enclosed by non-load bearing walls of colourful, flowing stained glass - Columns are subtle; viewers eyes moves around them - Chapels are no longer discreet; more ripples in the walls PLAN OF THE CHOIR SOUTH SIDE TO RADIATING CHAPELS FLIGHT INTO EGYPT WINDOW FRAGMENT (1145) - Saved by Alexandre Lenoir (rest destroyed by French Revolution) - Crisp elegance; “wonderful, uninterrupted light” - St. Denis became prototype for new architecture of space and light based on highly adaptable skeletal framework -  Initiated period of competitive experimentation in France - Was destroyed in French Revolution CATHEDRAL OF NOTRE-DAME IN CHARTES, France (1145-1155) - Important because built in a very short time - Punctuated the atmosphere with facades, assymetrical towers, wall buttresses (we see even today at UWO) - Lots of divisions of 3 - Masons built on concepts pioneered at St. Denis - Amalgam of early and mature Gothic style - Constructed after fire destroyed earlier Romanesque church - Typical Gothic structural devices: pointed arches, ribbed groin vaults, flying buttresses, short tyforium (mid-level wall passageway with arcaded screen) rather than expansive wall or full gallery - Quatre-partite rib vaults WEST (ROYAL) PORTALS - Central tympanum: Christ is enthroned in majesty - Shows Christ’s royal ancestry  associates kings and queens INTERIOR - Strong upward pull to clerestory windows, illuminating soaring vaults overhead ROSE WINDOW AND LANCETS - Rose window tracery was very much Gothic - Dance-like postures (avoid classicizing stockiness used in Romanesque) - Gift from King Louis IX  royal heraldic emblems secure royal association - Included JAMBS carved from columns o Alikeness to archaic Greek ( note Greek Kuros) or even Egyptian o Echo the architecture; floating, flowing/reinforcing the lines - Stained glass: luminous, appealed to multicultural (nomadic) groups moving around Europe and uniting ideas together CATHEDRAL OF NOTRE-DAME DU PARIS, France (1163) - Coronation church of French kings th - Bridges between Abbot Suger’s Abbey Church and 13 C Chartes Cathedral - First true flying buttresses - But was transformed into secular “Temple of Reason” during French Revolution but has become symbol of Paris - After 1225, (80% reconstruction) modernized and lightened by transforming clerestory into large double-lancet and rose windows CATHEDRAL OF NOTRE-DAME REIMS, France (1220s-1230s) - Bar tracery (thin stone bars form lacy framework for glass; replacing plate tracery where glass was inserted directly into opening) o Perfected as Reims; made possible more expansive walls of glass - Famous for quality and quality of structure - Classic cathedral where kings were crowned - Almost transparent structure -  Parthenon of the Middle Ages with lots of Jamb figures - Martyred during WWII but put back together afterward -  Rebirth of classicism (drapery, contraspostto) WEST PORTALS: CENTRE - Drew heavily on ancient Roman sources o  Solidarity of bulky, heavily draped bodies o  Use of two imperial facial ideals: unblemished youth & aged accomplishment o  Contrapostto figures - Mid 13 C: material design principles; began focusing on elaborating and refining visual elements of Gothic design/style SAINT-CHAPELLE (1239-1248) - Housed King Louis IX’s prized relics (esp. Crown of Thorns) - Held up by wall buttresses, walls seem to be made entirely of glass - Giant reliquary made of painted stone and glass turned inside out to experience from within - Stained glass: extensive narrative cycles in bold, energetic styles, stories easily legible despite breadth and complexity - Obliterated any sense of stone wall - Lots of references to King Louis IX and the French royal house - Became a status symbol that other royals imitated History in North American derives a lot from late Gothic styles Note: ST. PETER’S CATHEDRAL BASCILICA (1880-1885) (denotes Rome Basilicas) - Gothic: rose window, triple portal entrance way - Has no flying buttresses (because has steel beams and wooden roof) ST. PAUL’S (1840s) - Iconography of our corporate identity is borrowed  Gothic campus - Universities developed during Middle Ages  links us to EU universities that grew out of Cathedral schools PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS - Origins of our government system in Medieval Ages - Expressing our roots  association with authority DUNDAS/RIDEOUT COURT HOUSE (1820s) - When you conquered territory, you threw up a castle  authority symbol when this area was being colonized by Brits - Paris also renowned for books in 13 C: bibles for university study or extravagant theological works for wealthy - MORALIZED BIBLE (1230) for Queen Blanche the Castile (mother of Louis IX) th - Late 13 C: Book of Hours popular among wealthy
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