Arts & Culture | The Rise of Gothic | Medieval Era | Classical
The two great architectural styles of the medieval age were the Romanesque and the Gothic. The Romanesque, with its round-arch forms borrowed from classical buildings, is a massive style, characterized by solid pillars supporting the great stone roof vaults that were a new feature of construction. It is often crowded with imaginative sculpture.
During the twelfth century, architects began to incorporate novel elements into their church designs, which soon developed into a new style, the Gothic. The most striking early example is Abbot Suger’s rebuilding of the Abbey of St Denis near Paris, dating from about 1140. By the end of the century pointed arches, ribbed vaults and flying buttresses enabled great weights to be supported in very high structures, allowing more delicate construction and larger windows. The greatest cathedrals brought the construction arts together with sculpture and music for the glorification of God.
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