Rayonnant style


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Related to Rayonnant style: perpendicular style

Rayonnant style

(rā`ənănt), the middle period (c.1240–1350) of French Gothic architectureGothic architecture and art,
structures (largely cathedrals and churches) and works of art first created in France in the 12th cent. that spread throughout Western Europe through the 15th cent., and in some locations into the 16th cent.
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, so termed from the characteristic radiating tracery of the rose windowrose window,
large, stone-traceried, circular window of medieval churches. Romanesque churches of both England and the Continent had made use of the wheel window—a circular window ornamented by shafts radiating from a small center circle; and from this prototype developed
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. In this period many of the great cathedrals were under construction; the builders became bolder and more proficient, emphasizing in every way the vertical elements of the structure. Light and soaring structural skeletons were erected, reducing the size of all supporting members; the enlargement of windows resulted in a drastic reduction of wall surfaces. Bar tracerytracery,
bands or bars of stone, wood, or other material, either subdividing an opening or standing in relief against a wall and forming an ornamental pattern of solid members and open spaces.
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, displaying elaborate geometrical patterns, supplanted plate tracery. Sculptural ornament turned to greater naturalism and was used more generously. Of this period are the cathedral at Amiens (begun 1220), the Sainte-Chapelle at Paris (1243–46), and the earlier portions of St. Ouen at Rouen (begun 1318). The Rayonnant style spread to other parts of Europe. The scheme was employed in the cathedrals at Cologne, Germany (begun 1248), and Leon, Spain (begun c.1255).

Rayonnant style

The middle phase of French Gothic architecture in the 13th and 14th cent., characterized by radiating lines of tracery.