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French and English Gothic Art

Gothic art and architecture is a European art and architecture style that thrived and flourished in many areas during the 1140 to the final peak of the 16th century. It is applied to religious as well as to secular edifices, sculpture, stained glasses, decorative arts and manuscripts (Heindorff). It is the result of an architecture challenge (Chapuis) that is always seen as a symbol of dark, mysterious, and deeply religious epoch of the period. Most of the designs encompass narrow, pointed arches, buttresses, flying buttresses and stained glass windows (“Gothic Architecture”).

Gothic architecture is revealed by two cathedrals in Europe namely Reims Cathedral and Salisbury Cathedral, each of which embodies Gothic architecture on their particular location, France and England, respectively. The Reims Cathedral in Champagne-Ardennes, France is considered as one of the finest examples of the High Gothic style of architecture. It is the cathedral of our Lady in the city of Reims, which dates back from early 13th century. Its interior and exterior are both decorated with stone carvings. It has three portals or doorways on the west front which is highly notable for its realistic carved sculptures in High Gothic style.

On its north entry, above it, is a huge circular stained-glass window referred as a rose window (“Reims Cathedral”). The Salisbury Cathedral, on the other hand, is also known as the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Salisbury. It is an Anglican cathedral, the mother church of the Salisbury Diocese. It is well-known due to its famous tall spire that receives more than 500 000 visitors each year. The important parts of the cathedral are the tower and spire which dominate the skyline during the year1320.

The spire is the Cathedral’s crowning glory that proves to be the most troublesome characteristic and feature of the architecture (“Salisbury Cathedral”). The difference between French and English Gothic architecture lies not only in geography but also in the wealth of artistic and spiritual meanings that each of the sacred edifice depicted. Salisbury Cathedral showcases the early gothic architecture in England; in contrast, Reims Cathedral is an illustration of French Gothic style that depicts a mystifying ostentatious designs and dazzling motifs.

Among these two mentioned architecture, the Reims Cathedral is the appealing structure because there is a focus on the meticulous attention to details. There is an element of complexity on the Cathedral. It really showcases the artistic definition of French Gothic architecture in terms of its styles, elements and manners such as the two towers that emerge over the stained glass window, pointed arches and flying buttresses. There are also extra columns added that attempt to create the edifice look less repetitive and tiresome.

The structure appears to be unsystematic due to its aesthetic embellishments but in reality, it is accurate and formulaic (“The Gothic Architecture of France and England”). It has canonized proportions that offer a light yet tall magnificent construction and its partitions and divisions are very much effective that gives an impressive effect on the viewer. In contrast, the Salisbury Cathedral portrays the quite conservative and classical design of English Gothic style in architecture. Its walls and ceilings are crafted primarily of stones which are thicker and heavier compared to the French.

It bestows a weighed down and struggling appearance (“The Gothic Architecture of France and England”). The construction demonstrates a myriad of parallel lines on its interior and exterior. It also showcases decorative arcading grouped in twos or threes in the arch openings of windows. Gothic architecture in England and France are the symbols and illustrations of the political, social and economic condition of the place during the time of construction of the said Cathedrals. It is essential in analyzing historical masterpieces and development in architectural styles.

The featured structures may look and appear the same because of the towers and lines and elements. However, both of them have distinct features that enable the two architectures to reveal and define the country’s Gothic architectural approach. Works Cited Chapuis, Julien. “Gothic Art. ” 2000. Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 24 February 2009 <http://www. metmuseum. org/toah/hd/mgot/hd_mgot. htm>. “Gothic Architecture. ” n. d. 24 February 2009 <http://www. bishops. k12. nf. ca/designtech2109/archstyles/gothic/index. html>. Heindorff, Ann Mette.

Gothic Art and Architecture. 2006. Art History on Stamps. 24 February 2009 <http://arthistory. heindorffhus. dk/frame-Style08-Gothic. htm>. “Reims Cathedral. ” 2008. Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia. 24 February 2009 <http://encarta. msn. com/encyclopedia_761580879/reims_cathedral. html>. “Salisbury Cathedral. ” 2006. Sacred Destinations. 24 February 2009 <http://www. sacred-destinations. com/england/salisbury-cathedral. htm>. “The Gothic Architecture of France and England. ” n. d. All Sands. 24 February 2009 < http://www. allsands. com/travel/places/gothicarchitect_zsf_gn. htm>.

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