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Gothic Architecture Glossaries Organized by Theme
'Must Know' Term's of a Builder's Apprentice   |   Unique Cathedral Features   |   Decoration and Motif
Structural Design     |     Cathedral Components     |    Art Periods and Form Styles
Earthlore Explorations Gothic Dreams Cathedral Architecture Glossary Study Reference
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Expression and Technique of Craft
Utilized Within Gothic Churches,
Cathedrals & Monasteries :

“The beautiful city of Viterbo twelve miles away, whence Toscanella can be reached most conveniently, Earthlore Gothic Architecture: Engraving of Medieval Builder. has several early Romanesque churches. That of S, Sisto, with an apse that protrudes through the city wall, has capitals that break away from Roman example, and a strange clustered pillar spirally twisted. The Cathedral, though much modernized, has preserved its ancient Romanesque arcades, in which are capitals resembling Byzantine work, with eagles at the angles like those at Salonica, and quadruped sphinxes with a female head and a pair of wings.

In these buildings, and others that are coeval with them, in spite of the rudeness of their execution and the coarseness of their figure sculpture, one cannot fail to see the seed of future excellence. It seemed necessary that the decline which set in with Constantine should reach a bathos before it was arrested, and gave way to the stirrings of a new life.

Ancient tradition was dead or nearly so: technical skill was at the lowest possible ebb: for columns and capitals and such features as required dexterous workmanship, recourse was had to the spoils of ancient buildings: constructional problems were avoided, and the churches were mere walls with wooden roofs, vaults being beyond the builders' humble resources. But in the way these materials were put together, whether they were original or pilfered from old buildings, in the proportions adopted, and in the evident striving after beauty, we see that the artistic sense was alive, that it had in it all the promise of youth, and that it wanted nothing but practice, experience, and knowledge to develop a new and noble art.”

Thomas Graham Jackson, R.A.,
Byzantine and Romanesque Architecture, 1913

Earthlore Explorations Primary Introduction

“St. Sebaldus is the next best thing to St. Laurentius. It is one of the finest churches in Germany, and contains perhaps greater art treasures than any other. It has the famous stone-work of Adam Krafft, and some stained glass by Veit Hirsvogel, done in 1515, representing the “Margrave Frederick of Anspach and Baireuth,” with his wife and eight children, the quaintest thing imaginable; an altar-piece, painted in 1513 by Hans von Kulmbach, with drawings by Dürer.

But the most exquisite gem of art in this church is an iron monument or casket holding the remains of St. Sebald, the masterpiece of Peter Vischer, the celebrated worker in bronze and iron. He and his five sons worked on it for thirteen years. O delicious and quiet age of the world, when the educated craftsman could go for thirteen years with his great work, letting it grow as the trees grow, silently, patiently, perfectly, to remain forever a study and a joy to those who love art and perfect expression, and who turn sighing away from the hasty, ill-conceived, ill-executed work of these modern and hurried times!”

M. E. W. Sherwood,
Nuremberg, 1871,
The Galaxy Magazine

Historic Overview: Notre Dame de Paris

“... whatever may be the meaning with which we use the term proportion, it is certainly not the same thing as beauty. It is not that secret power which awakens in the cultivated and sensitive mind a mysterious sense of enchantment, as if it were in the presence of some hidden power, which lived a life of its own beyond the reach of all the rules and regulations of art and the deductions of science. Beauty in architecture, then, is the result not only of the adoption of certain curves and straight lines, accompanied with a suggestion of structural strength and of practical adaptation to the purposes for which the building is raised, but upon the more or less frequent repetition of some unit of length, which seizes upon the eye of the spectator, and fills his mind with a sense of harmony of which he is none the less conscious because he cannot explain precisely what it is that he feels. Upon this skeleton or linear structure the designer proceeds to place a multitude of details, in themselves suggestive of fitness and utility, and in their combination pleasant and varied. Taken singly, the effect of these essentials will not amount to positive beauty, though there can be no beauty without them. For I use the word beauty in its strictest sense, as expressing the highest perfection which man's art can attain.”

Rev. J. M. Capes, M.A.,
Principles of Architectural Beauty, 1880

Earthlore Gothic Art: Decorative Motif

“The artist, whatever may be his gifts, must be a man of his time, in advance of it no doubt if a real artist, but still of it; human passions and emotions are the same in all ages, modified only by circumstances. The conditions of life in which the poet lives do not effect him. His creations are not presented to the reader by the outward characteristics, when expressing the thoughts of his age. The artist's eye from habit will become, so to speak, saturated with beauty or ugliness, he must be affected by reality; if the things he is for ever taking in are noble, nobility will be his natural artistic language and material, and vice versa. If he, not finding in his material life what he requires, is driven to invent, he will produce monstrosities, or reproduce what has been done before under favouring conditions and therefore spontaneously; but such reproductions will no longer be of any value, not being spontaneous products.”

George Frederic Watts, Thoughts on Art

“In France after the eleventh century the tendency to diminish the thickness of the column in proportion to that of its load became constant, and the development of the capital into a more and more spreading form necessarily followed. The degree of expansion given to the capital varied considerably according to circumstances. Where monolithic shafts of compact stone could be obtained, it was found that these might be made very slender, and yet be strong enough to bear all the weight that could be gathered upon a widely spreading abacus. The frank carrying out of this principle led to the production of the distinctly Gothic type of capital.”

Charles Herbert Moore, Development and Character of Gothic Architecture, 1890

Gothic Architecture Glossaries Organized by Theme
'Must Know' Term's of a Builder's Apprentice   |   Unique Cathedral Features   |   Decoration and Motif
Structural Design     |     Cathedral Components     |    Art Periods and Form Styles


Principles of Gothic Ecclesiastical Architecture  The Principles of Gothic Ecclesiastical Architecture,
Matthew Holbeche Bloxam, London, D. Bogue (1846)
Dictionnaire raisonné de l'architecture  Dictionnaire raisonné de l'architecture française du XIe au XVIe siècle,
 Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, Paris  (1858-68)
Development and Character of Gothic Architecture  Development and Character of Gothic Architecture,
 Charles Herbert Moore, New York  (1890)
Mont Saint-Michel and Chartres  Mont Saint-Michel and Chartres,  Henry Adams, New York  (1904)
Mont Saint-Michel and Chartres  The Gothic Image: Religious Art in France of the Thirteenth Century,
 Émile Mâle, London  (1913)
Gothic Painting  Gothic Painting,  J. Dupont & C. Gnudi, Skira, Geneva  (1954)
The Gothic Cathedral  The Gothic Cathedral,   Otto von Simson, Pantheon, NY  (1956)
The Gothic  The Gothic,  Paul Frankl , Princeton Univ. Press  (1960)
The Cathedral Builders  The Cathedral Builders,   Jean Gimpel, Grove Press, NY  (1961)
Gothic Architecture  Gothic Architecture,  Robert Branner, G. Braziller, NY  (1961)
High Gothic  High Gothic,   Hans Jantzen,   Pantheon, NY  (1962)
History of Medieval Art I, II, III  History of Medieval Art I, II, III,  Georges Duby, Skira, Geneva  (1966-67)
The Medieval Architect  The Medieval Architect,   J. H. Harvey,  Pantheon, London  (1972)
The Age of the Cathedrals  The Age of the Cathedrals, Art and Society 980-1420,   Georges Duby, London  (1981)
French Gothic Architecture  French Gothic Architecture of the 12th and 13th Centuries,   J. Bony,  Berkeley  (1983)
The Gothic Cathedral  The Gothic Cathedral,   Christopher Wilson,  Thames & Hudson  (1990)
The Art of Gothic  The Art of Gothic,   Könemann Verlagsgesellschaft mbH,  (1999)

Development  &  Production  Credits

Primary Text :   Rhey Cedron   —   Theme Editor :   Nicole March
Structural Design & Project Direction :  Rhey Cedron
Art Direction :  Thierry Alberto   —   Art Production :  Mark Nelson & Ash' Murti
Principal Photography :   Rhey Cedron
Art Research :  Malcolm Hurrell  —   Support Research :  Walter McCrae
(Life) Support Production : Henry Craig,  Joan Flandrin, Clara Kelly and
a Patient Legion of Friends, Family & Angels
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