A Look into Gothic Times

Essay by CmoxeyCollege, UndergraduateA, July 2007

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When talking about the Gothic Era and Gothic cathedrals some people would think spooky time period with hunted cathedral buildings guarded by big scary gargoyles. Personally that's what came to my mind, but now that I have studied this time period and the architecture my perception has completely changed.

I would like to start at the beginning and give a little history of how the Gothic Era came to be. Prior to the Gothic style of architecture most cathedrals were modeled after Romanesque architecture. Romanesque cathedrals were large, heavy walled, functional, with lots of arched doorways, for a quick summary. Next we go to Paris and the surrounding areas which are referred to as the Ile-de-France around c1130. At this time in this area no new churches or cathedrals had been built for about one hundred years. Everyone was using already existing, old Romanesque buildings that were in very bad condition and falling apart.

A large reason for the lack of new architecture for this area at this time was the rulers in the Ile-de-France lacked money and resources, which meant no monasteries. The monasteries at this time were the ones that put all of the efforts into building and maintaining churches and cathedrals. They were also responsible for making them grand and glorious if there was money to do so. Later this changed and economics got better in the Ile-de-France, so when it came time to renovate their churches and cathedrals it was almost like they had to build them from ground zero because the existing ones were in such bad shape. Artistically this was a great thing because they had no restrictions on what they wanted to build, and out of this emerges the first Gothic cathedrals.

Many of the Gothic cathedrals were started from already existing Romanesque...