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The Gothic Cathedral, Otto von Simson, 1956, Chapter 2 , Measure and Light Introduction When someone enters a Gothic cathedral the things which immediately strike them are the vastness and symmetry of the solids materials and the ways in which these interact with the play of light , especially if the building is seen at different times of day and the shadows climb and fall, revealing and concealing as they travel.
This can be enjoyed at the simplest level by anyone, even birds are mentioned, but there are also those who understand the science of music – how it works , how it constructs links , how it can be composed. He quotes St Augustine of Hippo from the fourth century C.E. in ‘De musica’1 as saying that this is the science of music, a mathematical science. Music is described as an expression of relationships, a mathematical relationship. Augustine’s claim was that number was needed to prevent chaos within the universe. Because these are mathematical concepts the same principles can be applied in the field of the visual arts. In the mediaeval period it was believed that contemplation of geometry would lead on to thoughts of the divine, pointing to what lies outside our normal fields of vision. Augustine realised that both music and architecture have this aesthetic value. Augustine was aware that architecture uses this science of number, but was aware that not every architect was necessarily aware of the rules, even though he could apply them. He considered though that there could be no building of beauty unless the rules were both applied and could be seen to have done so. The whole creative process has to be placed within a framework of mathematical rules, of harmony and proportion. ...
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