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Gothic Architecture

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  1. Gothic Architecture Building “Fortresses of God” in the height of the European Middle Ages

  2. A New Way to Serve God • During the Middle Ages, men were told by Church leaders that they could earn their salvation by doing good works. • Salvation was serious business at this time and men would spend their entire lives preparing for the next life. • These factors led to the explosion of building of cathedrals in the Middle Ages.

  3. Beautiful Gothic Cathedrals • High ceilings, pointed arches, stained glass windows, and flying buttresses, all are characteristics of Gothic architecture. • The ribbed vault, shown here, where arches join for strength, made it possible to lift the ceiling higher with thinner walls.

  4. Religious Art of the Middle Ages depicted devotion… • This altar piece is done in the Byzantine Style and is two dimensional and unrealistic. There is a lack of depth and realism. • These works of art were usually done on wood and gilded to make them more beautiful.

  5. Famous Chartres Cathedral • Perhaps the most famous Gothic cathedral is in Chartres, France. • Burned shortly after completion, the second cathedral was built in 25 years because everyone in the town worked on it. • Famous for its stained glass windows, the church holds many other treasures.

  6. Stained Glass “storybooks” • The Becket window depicts the martyr, Thomas a Becket who was killed by the soldiers of Henry II of England. • Becket became a saint shortly after his death at Canterbury.

  7. The Last Supper Window

  8. The Robe of the Mary • The robe of Mary, mother of Jesus, is one of Chartres’ most important treasures. Another is the hundreds of life size marble statues that depict Bible stories.

  9. Tombs within churches… • Many Gothic churches contain the tombs of important people from the area around the church. • This funeral brass is in honor of Sir Robert de Bures, a knight who died in 1302.

  10. Strange Memorials… • This German saint worked with women who had no one to protect them. Her corpse was decorated with gold and jewels and then placed in a glass casket so people would be able to view her remains.

  11. Bible Stories in Stone… • This stone statue depicts one scene from the life of Christ. • There are hundreds of these statues in the Cathedral at Chartres.

  12. Gothic Cathedrals were created for God and Man • Some of the statues were not religious. This one depicts a woman of the town who was contributing to the building project like all the other people of Chartres. • Women, too, had to “earn salvation.”

  13. An Age of Faith passes… • Hundreds of glorious Gothic Cathedrals were created during the Middle Ages. • Men would begin a project, work on it all their lives, only to have the work finished by sons and grandsons. • Gothic Cathedrals gave way to Renaissance Cathedrals, built in a different style for different reasons, but few things are more beautiful than the great cathedrals of the Age of Faith.