With soaring vaults and resplendent stained glass windows, Gothic architecture attempted to recreate a heavenly environment on earth. Elaborating on Romanesque styles, Gothic builders, beginning in the 12th Century, further developed the use of flying buttresses and decorative tracery between stained glass windows thus creating interior spaces that dwarfed worshippers and dazzled their senses. Additionally, in response to a new interest in humanism, architectural and portable sculpture primarily depicted figures that acquired more naturalistic and sensuous features than had previously existed in the Middle Ages. Wealthy noblemen commissioned sumptuous manuscript illuminations, and toward the end of the Gothic era in the 14th Century, elaborate altarpieces and frescoes became more common in churches and chapels.
Renaissance artists and writers in the 16th Century coined the term Gothic, and the early art historian Giorgio Vasari infamously reinforced the unfavorable connotations when he referred to Gothic art as “monstrous and barbaric” since it did not conform to classical ideals. It was not until the mid-1700s with the Gothic Revival in England that the style shed its negative associations. Subsequently Gothic architecture in particular inspired new churches in the 19thcentury, city buildings, and university architecture well into the 20th Century.
Credit: The Art Story