Gothic Architecture and sculpture: An in depth analysis of the gothic style from the early archaeic period up to the flamboyant

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The Gothic Period

The Gothic Period was a time of immense development. As the 12th century progressed the economy grew stronger, towns developed and expanded rapidly, scholarship and culture made great advances. Concurrently with these political and economic advances, a powerful new intellectual movement arose that was stimulated by the translation of ancient authors of Greek and Arabic into Latin, and a new literature, both lyric and epic came into being. Gothic architecture has nothing to do with the historical Goths. It was a pejorative term that came to be used to describe culture that was considered rude and barbaric. Gothic style was the dominant structural and aesthetic mode in Europe for up to 400 years.

The designation of styles in French Gothic architecture are as follows:

* Early/ Archaeic Gothic

- Chartres Cathedral

- Notre Dame, Paris

This was a period of experiment roughly from the early 12th century to the opening decades of the 13th.

* High Gothic/ Classic Period/ Rayonnant ( used near the end of this period)

-Rheims Cathedral

- Amiens Cathedral

This period spans the entire 13th century. Ideas are fully established and are approached with confidence.

* Flamboyant/ Mannerist/ Late Gothic period

-Rouen Cathedral

Covers the end of the thirteenth century up to the 15th century. This was a period of extravagance and highly decorative buildings, full of ornamentation.


The essential character of the Gothic period, particularly at the outset, was the predominance of architecture; all the other arts were determined by it. The character of the Gothic visual aesthetic was one of immense vitality; it was spikily linear and restlessly active. It reflected the exalted religious intensity, the pathos, and self-intoxication with logical formalism that were the essence of the medieval culture. It is generally agreed that Gothic architecture made its initial...