French Gothic architecture

French Gothic architecture

French Gothic architecture is the style of architecture that was prevalent in France from 1140 until about 1500.

equence of Gothic styles: France

The designations of styles in French Gothic architecture are as follows:

* Early Gothic
* High Gothic
* Rayonnant
* Late Gothic or Flamboyant style

These divisions are effective, but still sets grounds for many debatable issues. Because Gothic cathedrals were built over several successive periods, each period not necessarily following the wishes of previous periods, the dominant architectural style changes throughout a particular building. Consequently, it is often difficult to declare one building as a member of a certain era of Gothic architecture. It is more useful to use the terms as descriptors for specific elements within a structure, rather than applying it to the building as a whole.lklk

Gothic styles

Early Gothic

This style began in 1140 and was characterized by the adoption of the pointed arch and transition from late Romanesque architecture. In order to highten the wall, it was divided into 4 tiers: arcade (arches and piers), gallery, triforium and clerestorey. In order to support the higher wall the flying buttresses were invented, though they reached maturity only at High Gothic during the 13th century. The vault (architecture)s were 6 ribbed Sexpartite vaults.

High Gothic

This style from the 13th century canonized proportions and shapes from early Gothic and developed them further in order to achieve light yet tall majestic structures. The wall structure was modified from 4 tiers to only 3 tiers - arcade, triforium and clerestorey. Piers coronations made smaller in order not to stop the visual thrust upwards. The clerestorey windows were changed from one window in each segment, holed in the wall, to two windows united by a small rose window. The rib vault changed from 6 ribs to 4 ribs. The flying buttresses became mature and after they were embraced at Notre-Dame de Paris and Notre-Dame de Chartres they became the canonical way to support high walls as they served both structural and ornemental purposes.

Noteable structures

Early Gothic:
* The East end of the Abbey Church of St Denis
* Sens Cathedral
* Notre-Dame of Laon
* The West facade of Chartres Cathedral
* Notre Dame de Paris (started 1163)
* Lyon Cathedral

High Gothic:
* The main body of Chartres Cathedral (1194-1260)
* Amiens Cathedral
* Notre Dame de Paris
* Bourges Cathedral

* The nave of the Abbey Church of St Denis
* Reims Cathedral
* Sainte-Chapelle

Late Gothic:
* The north tower of Chartres Cathedral
* The rose window of Amiens Cathedral
* The west facade of Rouen Cathedral
* Church of St. Maclou, Rouen.
* The south transept of Beauvais Cathedral

Aside of these Gothic style there is another style called "Gothique Méridional" (or Southern Gothic, opposed to Gothique Septentrional or Northern Gothic). This style is characterised by a large nave and has no transept. Examples of this Gothic architecture would be:
* Notre-Dame-de-Lamouguier in Narbonne
* Sainte-Marie in Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges

See also

* Gothic architecture
* Romanesque architecture
* Cathedral architecture of Western Europe

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