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French Gothic Architecture - Essay Example

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Religion and Theology
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France is generally recognized as the main center for Gothic architecture, especially in the early period, but other areas soon began to adopt these innovations and adapt them to their own local needs…

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French Gothic Architecture

Apart from these geographical variations, there are stylistic features that differ from country to country. In Italy, for example, the towers traditionally are quite separately from the main body of the building. England took to the Gothic style more keenly than many other countries, and it was employed widely in universities and civic buildings as well as in churches and cathedrals. The windows and arches in the English style are even more elongated than in the French style, creating a more austere impression, which befits the different sensibilities of English culture. The proportions of window breadth and height are thus changed, and the use of some very hard English marble for pillars allows an extension of verticality without any loss of weight bearing capacity. Some innovations were made in the design of the vault by English builders, as for example at Lincoln in the mid thirteenth century when the star vault was first invented. A long series of star vaults draws the eye horizontally, so that the bays merge into each other giving the ceiling space in cathedrals such as Lincoln, and also Ely, a horizontal feel which came to be recognized as typically English (Frankl and Crossley, 2000, p. 146). Canterbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey with their strong royal connections became showpieces of English Gothic, sparing no expense to add ornate sculpture in every corner. The stained glass styles and colors are somewhat different from the French examples, reflecting the local preference for the deep blue and violet which were associated with the royal court. Wells Cathedral, built in the first half of the thirteenth century, has no less than three hundred sculptures placed on the west front. ...
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