Expect The Unexpected In Gothic

4 Jul


An introduction to gothic architecture

Gothic is derived from the word’ Goth’ that means vandal. The Goths were the barbaric clan of the Germans,not up to the mark of the rest of the civilized world of Europe.Hence, the form of architecture was called gothic, considering it’s grotesque and monstrous appearance.

SAGRADA FAMILIA…FAMILIAR ?

 

A paradox

Gothic architecture is in itself a paradox with its brooding and threatening exterior and a sublime, magical interior.

THE EXTERIOR OF THE KING’S CHAPEL (CAMBRIDGE)

AND THE INTERIOR

A sense of mystery is instilled into the structure in the manner of its planning, the careful and appropriate use of materials such as glass and black bricks ,the high vaulted ceilings and spires reaching heavenward as if to seek divine intervention.

Symbolism in gothic

The gothic architects wanted the structure to mean something. They believed that every structure must have meaning or symbolize the outlook of man towards life and that there must be a reason behind every form.

Gargoyles

The word ‘gar’ in Spanish means to swallow since gargoyles usually function as waterspouts making gurgling sound of water within them. The waterspout gargoyles are found on the eaves while the rest meant for ornamentation are found wedged between arches.

It is said that they guard the building on which they reside.

THE THREE GARGOYLES IN VICTOR HUGO’S HUNCH BACK OF NOTRE DAME DEPICTS THE PARADOX IN HUMAN NATURE -THE UGLY EXTERIOR BUT KIND AND BENEVOLENT FROM WITHIN

The gargoyles depict humanity in conflict with the supernatural forces for they too are humanoid beings on an animal’s body.

Stain glass

There has always been a mystery to glass. A jewel like substance that captures light and appears as if glowing from within. The stain glass subdues the harsh sunlight filtering the world and creating a diffused more sublime ambiance.

The gothic architecture has also inspired modernist architects such as Mies Van Der Rohe who greatly admired the beauty of stain glass windows of the cathedrals where he sang as a choir boy.

THE SEAGRAM’S BUILDING:Mies was inspired by the translucency and transparency of glass.

Rose windows

THE ROSE IN ‘BEAUTY AND THE BEAST’ IS ALSO SYMBOLIZING THE GOOD AND EVIL IN ALL OF US

The rose window is named thus because it usually has a red colored stain glass like that of rose. The rose also symbolizes the evil and good within all human beings. It is also said to be derived from the French word ‘roué’ for wheel.

Spires

The spires are conical or pyramidal structures that appear as if a spear is piercing through the sky, a celestial or hopeful gesture heavenward.

Ribbed-vault

These vaults enable the ceiling to be lifted to great heights thus an important aspect of gothic architecture.

An Ecclesiastical sanctuary

Since most of the significant buildings of Europe were commissioned by the church, they had to be built to demand respect and command fear from the people.

The ominous exterior of the building with its gargoyles poised for attack and tall spires, may intimidate an onlooker but when you step inside, it is almost like a heavenly abode within the dark exterior. It created a new world that was detached from all the ugliness of disease,poverty and reality.

“If fear forces man to obey God,

then beauty lift’s a man’s soul closer to God.”

-ANTONIO GAUDI

Advertisements

One Response to “Expect The Unexpected In Gothic”

  1. balagopal August 23, 2011 at 5:05 am #

    Many a times we ‘experience’ the buildings we see, reside, work and visit; but never ‘understand’ them in any ways. The article serves this purpose – of helping one to see their ( those buildings’) ‘personalities’.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s