Gothic architecture(redirected from Gothic Cathedrals)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
A revolutionary style of construction of the High Middle Ages in western Europe which emerged from Romanesque and Byzantine forms. The term “Gothic” was originally applied as one of reproach and contempt. The style was characterized by a delicate balance between the lateral thrust from loads and the force of gravity. It was most often found in cathedrals employing the rib vault, pointed arches, flying buttresses and the gradual reduction of the walls to a system of richly decorated fenestration. The style’s features were height and light, achieved through a mixture of skeletal structures and increasing use of windows. Walls were no longer necessary to support the roof and could be replaced with large, tall windows of stained glass. One of the finest and oldest examples of French Gothic architecture is Notre Dame in Paris.
The architectural style of the High Middle Ages in Western Europe, which emerged from Romanesque and Byzantine forms in France during the later 12th cent. Its great works are cathedrals, characterized by the pointed arch, the rib vault, the development of the exterior flying buttress, and the gradual reduction of the walls to a system of richly decorated fenestration. Gothic architecture lasted until the 16th cent., when it was succeeded by the classical forms of the Renaissance. In France and Germany one speaks of the Early, High, and Late Gothic; the French middle phase is referred to as Rayonnant, the late phase as Flamboyant. In English architecture the usual divisions are Early English, Decorated, and Perpendicular.