Since the second half of the XII century in Western Europe, and especially in Northern France, there is a new style of architecture, radically different from the Romanesque and Gothic dubbed. The Gothic style was born of the culture of the emerging cities, previously only implemented in architecture and it is firmly established. Citizens victorious in the struggle with the feudal lords become carriers of social and economic progress. A new burgher worldview, addressed to the person-the Creator, the Creator of wealth, the peculiar features of which is the pride for his hometown and desire to glorify him. The symbol of the town is the Cathedral, losing its defensive function. Stylistic changes are justified not only functional changes but also to significant advances in construction technique, based on the exact calculation and accurate construction. The transfer of load-bearing structures outwards facilitates walls, columns, increase height and create a fundamentally new temple’s interior that closely matches the idea of the aspirations of the spirit up to God.
In General, the Gothic cathedrals are characterized by specific stylistic and design features, main of which are:
• complication of a Basilica (five naves from the East, three to the West, choral rounds, and the crown of chapels),
• the disappearance of isolation naves by columns tapering,
• the use of buttresses and flying buttresses for strengthening supports,
• use of building arches and trusses;
• ribbed ceilings;
• large Lancet Windows with stained glass Windows and a round window “rose” above the portal;
• lightness of the structures,
• the abundance of sculptural decoration of the temple, emphasizing verticalism, airiness of the structure;
• relationship of interior and exterior.
National architectural schools had some differences, but they in no way violated the integrity of the style. Masterpieces of Gothic architecture in the world recognized as the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Chartres and Reims cathedrals (France), Cologne Cathedral (Germany), Milan Cathedral(Italy).
But the Gothic style was used not only in Church architecture. With the development of cities in the very construction of cathedrals ceased to be the monopoly of carbonylation. It passed into the hands of urban artisans United in relevant workshops and willingly applied their skills in the construction of secular buildings. Realizing his power and wealth, the townspeople strive to build next to the city Cathedral on the main square of the town hall as a symbol of the city and the personification of social consciousness of the burghers. Beautiful examples of Gothic civil building preserved in several Western European cities, such as Florence, Bruges, Ghent, Brussels, etc.
In the art of Gothic finds greater independence sculpture. You receive diverse three-dimensional forms of plastic. Placing shapes on the facade of cathedrals reflected a clear thematic principle. In some countries, the sculpture was concentrated in the exterior of the Cathedral (France), in others in the interior.
Thanks to oberdonau building cooperatives and the development of secular building, in Gothic sculpture, the observed build-up of realistic elements, personality portrait, sometimes verging on the transmission of psychological characteristics (portraits Naumburg Cathedral). The anatomy of the figures becomes the correct one, the faces of the saints convey human emotions. The relief was high, plastic, loses its linearity.
Monumental Gothic painting is mainly represented by stained glass. A significant increase of the window openings have expanded the role of stained glass at the expense of paintings. Compared to the Romanesque, the Gothic stained glass is even more profound and condensed color. Expanding the color palette, the ornamental elements disappear, they are replaced by human figures, initially static, standing, and then in various poses. In XI century the purpose of stained glass was the coverage, in the thirteenth century its function changed: it is intended, decorating, to teach.
Stained glass was usually offered as a gift to the temple by kings, noble lords, spiritual persons of high rank or handicraft corporations. Masters often depict themselves at work (Chartres Cathedral).
In the XIV century. leaded become thinner and more graceful, a pattern reminiscent of book miniatures. In the XV century image-retina technique of overlapping Windows, which gave the subtlest nuance of color in the stained glass feels the build-up of realistic elements, it already competes with the book thumbnail, but loses its monumentality. Particularly loud fame took French stained glass Windows of Chartres, Rouen, and Saint-Chapelle in Paris, and German stained-glass Windows of the cathedrals at Strasbourg and Stuttgart.
Along with the art of stained glass Gothic left us magnificent examples of portrait miniatures. Stained glass and miniature, co-existing, are inevitably subjected to interference. The scope of portrait miniatures in the Gothic art was greatly expanded. But the Bible, the gospel and the Psalter had to illustrate a book of hours (excerpts from religious books with calendars holidays), textbooks, encyclopedias, secular literature.
There was specialization of the masters in two directions: the miniaturists who have generated orders of feudal aristocracy, court, and folk artists democratic direction.
The art of portrait miniatures was one of the major achievements of Gothic; in this form of art traces the evolution from the “classic” style to realism. Among the most outstanding achievements of portrait miniatures, in fact the Gothic style, can be called the Psalter of Queen Ingeborg (Chantilly, Museums, 1200) and the Psalter of Saint Louis (Paris, national library, 1256)
A remarkable monument of the German school of the early fourteenth century is “the Manuscript Manesse” (Heidelberg University library). It is a collection of the most famous songs of the German minnesingers. The manuscript is decorated with portraits of singers, scenes of tournaments and court life, coats of arms.
The most famous miniaturist of the late Gothic period was Jean Fouquet. By that time (XV century) miniature is becoming more realistic, becoming illustrations from texts in a separate tiny picture.
Our contemporaries calls the middle Ages the era of “ringed eternity”, who left a world of lasting cultural value. But they didn’t arise by themselves out of nothing. The middle ages formed a special type of personality. Peasant, burgher, artisan, piously believing in the afterlife, and diligently working, were courageous people, not afraid of death, stoically endured the vicissitudes of fate. But, however, they were not alien to earthly, human joys, they were able to appreciate and create beauty. Talking about this extant monuments of medieval culture.