A Complete Introduction to Gothic Architecture

29 thoughts on “A Complete Introduction to Gothic Architecture

  1. This has its fair share of misinformation in it.
    1:00 Gothic architecture has absolutely NOTHING to do with the Goths. That is completely incorrect. During the middle ages, Gothic architecture was called "opus francigenum" which meant "French work". It was also known as "Stile Nova" or the "New Style" as it was indeed new in comparison to the old Romanesque style (you did correctly point out, however, that Gothic architecture evolved from Romanesque; this is quite true). The term "Gothic", however, did not appear in the general vocabulary until the 2nd half of the 16th century. It was the Italian artist, architect, writer, and historian, Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574), who referred to the medieval style of architecture disparagingly calling it the "barbarous German style". He erroneously attributed various features of Gothic architecture to the Goths, whom he blamed for the destruction of many of Rome's magnificent buildings after the fall of Rome. The architecture of the Renaissance sought to reintroduce the refined elements of architecture achieved by the Greeks and more specifically the Romans. The architecture of the Middle Ages fell out of favor and was considered not only old fashioned, but uncouth and barbaric (like the Goths – hence the name), especially when compared to the elegance and purity of design featured in Renaissance architecture.
    1:38 Those are not parapets, they are pinnacles. Same at 1:43 Each one of those little towers is called a pinnacle. In the case of the roof of King's College Chapel (which is what the picture is of), all the stonework to either side of the roof is a parapet, however, the "little towers" as you call them, are, in fact, pinnacles. A parapet is a protective wall or barrier along a roof, bridge, or balcony.
    2:15 It is true one reason for the large windows in Gothic buildings was to illuminate the dark interior; however, there was also a more significant religious component to the quest for light; in the medieval religious conception, light was considered the actual presence of God.
    2:40 The pointed arch was not "borrowed" from Islamic architecture. Yes, the pointed arch was, indeed, a feature of Islamic architecture, but to say the Europeans "borrowed" it is an over statement and an oversimplification. The pointed arch was used in a completely different context in western architecture, it was the Europeans who unlocked and mastered the pointed arch's potential.
    3:44 "You can see the geometric design here is quite elaborate, hence the name Flamboyant". WRONG. The Flamboyant style is elaborate, to be sure; but what makes it flamboyant is its use of flame-like windings in its tracery.
    9:30 That is a picture of St. Mary's Church, Lubeck, Germany which was built between 1250 and 1350, so it is not "more modern" as you put it. The building was severely damaged on March 28, 1942, during WW2, but was restored as best as possible to its original design after the war between 1947-1959.
    9:45 The nave is not a level, it is the long part of the church. The windows along the bottom level of the nave are the arcade windows or more accurately the aisle windows; you are correct, however, the top row of windows are the clerestory windows.
    10:30 The triforium is above the aisle, not above the nave. In earl Gothic, however, the space above the aisles was often nearly as large as the aisle below, although not as high, and thoroughly vaulted in stone (as at Laon Cathedral and Paris Cathedral). This space was not called a triforium in early Gothic architecture, as the space did not form a triangle with the slopping roof over the aisle; rather, these large spaces were actually galleries. A triforium often did exist above the gallery where the gallery roof connected to the wall thus providing 4 levels (arcade, gallery, triforium, clerestory) as can be clearly seen in Laon Cathedral. In later Gothic architecture, the number of levels was reduced to three as the gallery was omitted. The triforium itself was reduced to a narrow passage way or abandoned all together in lieu of more stained glass; and in some cases, the interior was reduced to just two levels, arcade and clerestory, as can be seen in le Manse Cathedral.
    12:52 Neo Gothic and Gothic Revival are not really the same thing. The Basilica of the National Vow in Ecuador is Neo Gothic, it is strongly influenced specifically by Bourges Cathedral (French Gothic). Gothic Revival was an English movement culminating in mid to late 19th century construction of new churches in England that drew mostly from various aspects of English Gothic architecture, hence the Gothic Rival style can also often exhibit a strong Victorian influence and is called, appropriately enough, Victorian Gothic. There was also a religious component to the Gothic Revival movement which sought to improve and retain an adherence to formal liturgical ritual which has come to be known as high church, or Anglo-Catholic church.
    14:17 "A lot of times people tend to be drawn toward Gothic architecture because of the ornate detail, and that detail and design elements of Gothic architecture were meant to be seen as a testament to the glory and majesty of God." Yes, but make no mistake about it, it was as much to display the achievement and ingenuity of men as much as to bare witness to the glory of God. The quest for ever larger cathedrals with ever higher vaulting was due to the innate human urge to compete and dominate tempered by the fervor of religiosity.

  2. santa maria del fiore is not gothic its a renaissance building and was the very first dome made by brunelleschi known for his work as an early renaissance architect.

  3. The video is very informative about the Gothic style, which is not so long but not too short. It is good enough for the people like me who want to learn a bit of Gothic design before traveling in Europe. Thanks !

  4. Lots of your facts are wrong you need to stop learning about gothic from American prospective and books

  5. I love gothic architecture gothic buildings art And as you know there is not guest gothic buildings or gothic art gothic is not guest on buildings or things but there are of course gothic people because I am gothic i like to wear long gothic leather trench coats I like wearing suits and hats I like wearing long leather jackets in the summer because of neve camball from scream 2 because she is my idol and I love being gothic but sometimes I say am not allowed to be a goth & I say am not allowed to wear suits and hats and long goth leather because of bullies and negative people. I had fake friends and thay said way do you wear a suit and way are you wearing a long leather jacket in the summer are you not roasting and a lot of negative people were saying to me why are you wearing a long leather jacket in the summer are you not roasting and bullies and negative people laugh at me because I look a bit like al pacino and thay would laugh at me when I am in my suit but I get bullied more because of me being gothic. But you know what I am trying my best to strong and I always now walk straight and try to keep my head straight but I have done this since 2016 so I am getting confident I still get bullied and laughed and sometimes still get upset but I should not let negative people bullies get to me. I am gothic and am proud. Am sorry I had to write this but I guest wanted to show my emotions. But I loved your video am so amamazed of the different types of gothic architecture in the church's.

  6. gothic style was born in north eastern france arrow like features you mention at the beginning( their second use is to apply more weight on some of the struture like on top of a "mur de culée" ) are called PINACLES gothic is based on putting all the weight on pilastres large columns and a system of stone springs called croisées d'ogives reporting all downward pressure on column instead of just walls allowing builders to open large bay windows to let natural light into the building there is no such a thing as italian gothic german gothic english gothic gothic style is gothic style the first gothic building made in english was started by guilllaume de Sens
    different loges (lodge it used to be a covered room where magister drawn the plans on the floor using 12 segments string and the compass they use to call the lord's tool )
    children of master jacques
    children of father soubise
    children of the temple of salomon (these built most of german cathedrals)
    the highest one is in a little town called BEAUVAIS saint pierre de beauvais the cathedral height under the roof 48 meters part of it fell down forcing people to run out before getting killed curiously the croisées d'ogives or stones springs remained in place only the masonry between them has fallen down nice video 🙂

  7. the pointed arch was not really inspired from Middle Eastern architecture, sure, they had pointed arches before gothic started in Europe, but they had no science behind it, it was just a shape, not for structural purpose. So is more like a coincidence than an inspiration.

  8. My Friend : "gothic" has absolutely nothing to do with the germanic tribes. This architecture was labelled "gothic" in the Renaissance for its barbaric , dark style.

  9. My class would like to thank you for this wonderful video. They are so proud of you and your accomplishments. 🙂 They said they love the pictures, and wanted to know if you enjoyed visiting Paris (since they are French).

  10. Thanks for the clear explanation on the structure of the gothic cathedral. The main elements were analyzed with synthetic precision.

  11. What you are calling "parapets" are "pinnacles". A "parapet" is the long fence sort of thing that runs along the edge of a roof.

    The word "Gothic" was not used in a contemporary context to imply that the architecture was a departure from Roman or from Romanesque. It was not used at all, in THAT period. In fact, it was not applied to architecture until the late 1600s, after Classical/Roman style architecture had been revived during the Renaissance, and had become "the norm". THEN architects, looking backward, saw the old churches with their pointed arches as "Germanic", Barbaric" or "Gothic" for want of a better word to describe them. It was very clear (to the architects of the Late Renaissance) that IF the style was governed by rules of mathematics (which was not obvious) then the it was a very different and quirky set of rules. Why (to the Renaissance mind) would anyone build a pointed arch which can be at any angle at all, when you can draft a beautiful semi-circle that is mathematical perfection?

    Let me emphasise that the suggestion, both in this and another video that I have seen, that contemporary people criticised these buildings as "un-Roman" is a ridiculous notion.

  13. Cool video, i live in Michigan "USA". and in Detroit, Mi. they have some pretty crazy Gothic style buildings. You should check them out.

  14. Nice, but is it a complete introduction?
    I'm an architect educated in Europa, but I skip any technical comments.
    Please check on Fulcanelli's "The Mystery of the Cathedrals" to understand those structures.

  15. Fantastic video, man. 🙂  Very well crafted, digestible, and articulate.  Spot on, as I'm sure you know, in your research, as well.   Absolutely excellent. 🙂

  16. Is Gothic architecture In Europe essentially Norman Architecture?
    Someone said to me that Gothic architecture is differnt to Norman Architecture?

  17. Hi Spencer – I really liked your informative introduction to Gothic architecture.  At the risk of being pedantic, you show a picture of the roof of King's College Chapel when you name the pointy things as parapets when in fact they are pinnacles. More correctly, the parapet is the row of pierced openings along with the pinnacles.

  18. Very well said.Thanks a lot.

    But still Gothic architecture seems to be much mystic to me.
    CST Railway Station of Mumbai,India is an example for this architecture.But it has statues of numerous scary hounds,scary people,occult like symbols in it.

    Can anyone give any explanation on the meaning of those statues.Pictures can be obtained by google images.

    Thanks a lot. 

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