The Gothic Cathedral
The Central building of almost any Western European city is, of course, the Cathedral or the Church. First of all, of course, spectacular Gothic cathedrals.Huge monumental structures are drawn to the sky and make us feel our frailty and insignificance in the face of eternity. At the same time, high arches of the human endeavor to look up. Not overwhelming, but rushes forward.
Although I am very far from religion, but when visiting a city attach great importance to the local Central cult structure. Especially if it’s Gothic Cathedral.
It’s kind of understandable: it’s hard to go past architectural dominant. But still had the desire to make a generalization and to answer the question: why is the Gothic Cathedral is an important value for the historical and cultural heritage of the city?
In my opinion, the best answer to this question gives Muratova K. M. in his book Masters of the French Gothic architecture of XII-XIII centuries . I think it will be useful to quote a few paragraphs from there. If only for the fact that You would when the case was able to convincingly prove to the people why, say, the Cologne Cathedral is worth seeing in the first place, and a great kölsch beer in beer in the old town and can wait a bit
“…The primary focus of his creative powers, and the main monuments of Gothic art of the time were large urban churches that were the center of social and spiritual life of the city. In their purpose and implementation of the medieval Cathedral was truly popular. The whole city took part in its construction, trying to decorate it “with all inner purity and with all outward greatness”. Its walls were witnesses and weekday worship services, and holiday of the liturgical ceremonies and solemn processions, and town meetings, and national celebrations, and religious theatrical performances. Its spacious naves were open to all, without distinction of position and status. Under his high soaring vaults could gather the entire population of the medieval town. To the Cathedral, and to the more modest parish churches, were extended yarn path in life medieval man: the place in the rites and ordinances defined the daily rhythm of being, the walls of the Cathedral were filled with the prayers of the living and the tombstones of the dead.
It would be a mistake, however, that comparing Gothic Cathedral with a medieval “Sums” is a grandiose constructions of scholastic thought in their attempt to create a coherent and comprehensive system of ideas about the universe, to see in the Gothic Cathedral of the incarnation only “scholasticism in stone”. In a complex and rich interaction of architecture and plastic arts in the Gothic temple merge into a single and holistic artistic image of all systems and shades of thoughts and feelings that form the worldview of the Gothic era. For the expression of the tastes of the new, emerging and becoming middle class, urban, environment, and democratic ideals of the feudal-aristocratic, and court circles. In it find a response form updated and secularized religiosity and deep mystical experiences, nourished the spiritual foundations of Christianity and coloring excited emotionally sublime tone a slim, orderly and highlighted the picture of the universe created by scholastic speculation. The abundance of themes and plots of old folk tales enriched the ancient tradition, luxury and Oriental fantasy combined with new ideas about the world and a new attitude towards nature.
In any field of creative activity, the epoch of the XII—XIII centuries did not distinguish himself with such fullness and brightness, as in architecture. It has become a tradition to refer to as Gothic cathedrals — the largest monumental buildings of that time as “encyclopedias” of the Gothic era and the Gothic world. Internally this difficult and dramatic period of human history appears in art not only in its clearly detectable trend summation of ideas about the world, but also in its development. In the sequence of works of art of the Gothic, since the second half of the XII to the XIV century, the worldview of this era is reflected in all its integrity and forward motion with such brightness, maturity, strength, and fullness that was by becoming only the art, have reached a classic stage of development.
In the Gothic art I got the intellectual and spiritual life of the era. In it a perfect representation of the middle ages about the universe, history and humanity are inextricably intertwined with simple and concrete everyday dimensions of reality. For the life, tenderness and joyousness green cover of the earth, the naturalness of human work, human relationships, tastes, habits become the property of art of Gothic. It is associated with his era all the features of his artistic language. In uniting in an integral artistic image of all the hopes, aspirations and ideals of a century is historically due to the universalism of Gothic art. It was aimed at understanding the broad strata of the population and is addressed to all people. One of his goals was to provide man simple and inviolable system of notions. But the fine decoration of Gothic churches was not just a book for the illiterate. Gothic cathedrals were really a true encyclopedia of Gothic century, containing and representing in a coherent system the combination of the main ideas of the era. They expressed typical Western European medieval thinking, the perception of the world as a whole, the desire to reach a harmonious unity of the essence of being, space and history in their projections in “the endless distance” and “bezobrazie” heaven.”