Example research essay topic: Gothic Architecture In French And English Cathedrals – 693 words

The Gothic style originated in France around 1140.
It spread to other parts of Europe and remained
the dominant style in northern Europe for the next
400 years. Like the preceding Romanesque style,
the Gothic style is defined largely in terms of
architecture, with many regional variants. As the
Gothic style spread throughout Europe, it brought
profound changes in Europe. French Gothic captured
the imagination of English architects and the
style influenced their building down through the
centuries. However, the Gothic introduced by
William of Sens, and despite French influence, the
English developed their own style. As a result,
the architectural in French Gothic cathedrals are
different to that of the English Gothic.

Location
of the cathedral could be used to identify the
difference between the French and English
cathedrals. In France, cathedrals were built in
the center of city. Instead of standing in the
center of cities, Gothic cathedrals in England
were often built in grassy, treed areas. Many tend
to be horizontal in orientation in contrast to the
soaring verticality of cathedrals on the
continent. In addition, French Gothic was a time
of secular age of towns, cities, universities,
traders, merchants, bankers, guilds, powerful
kings, and luxurious courts. Scholasticism, the
dominant philosophy and theology exerted as impact
on the arts.

Women were given a new importance
inspired by the Virgin Mary, and many cathedrals
were dedicated to her, for example, the Notre
Dame). French Gothic cathedrals are designed with
pointed arches, groined vaults, and flying
buttresses. The plan is compact and unified; the
nave, divided into oblong bays, is supported on
clustered ribs that shift the weight to pointed
arches and piers. The cathedrals became a skeletal
structure where walls were dissolved and replaced
by stained glass windows. The objective was a
buoyant, ever-increasing height that directed the
eye upward. Deep porches on the faade were richly
decorated with sculpture; twin towers were
designed in proportion to the width of the faade
and the rose window in the center symbolized the
Virgin.

The earliest Gothic structure was the
Abbey of St. Denis where Abbot Suger (1137-1144)
had architects designs the choir and buttresses on
the exterior so that weight carried on pointed
ribs and piers reinforced ambulatory. Windows
replaced walls, and the interior was flooded with
light. In English Gothic cathedrals, Salisbury
(begun 1220) has a double transept, square east
end, and long choir. Typically, English are the
dark marble colonnettes and capitals that create a
color contrast in the interior. Lancet windows
dominate the screen faade while a tall needle-like
spire, 404 feet high, distinguished the cathedral.
Gloucester (13th century) is filled with complex
tracery.

Diagonal ribs connected with intricate
crisscrossing diagonals subdivide the strong
verticals of the windows. Chapel of Henry VII
(early 16th century) in Westminster Abbey marks
the culmination of the Perpendicular Style evident
in the fan vaults, a dazzling display of
triangular tracery, trefoil arches, quatrefoils,
gables, etc. Wells Cathedral reveals the thickness
and solidity related to the Anglo-Norman style,
but relieved by the multiplication of Gothic
moldings, shafts and ornately carved capitals. The
wide, massive faade has block-like towers, a fine
portal, lancet windows, and numerous sculptured
figures set within pedimented niches. Lincoln
Cathedral has a nave vaulted by a multiplicity of
ribs splayed out into a complex pattern of stars
purely for decorative effect (called Decorated
Style). Included are double curving ogee arches
and twisted and turned intricate network of stone
tracery that antedates the Flamboyant style.

Here,
surface ornament reached a climax and is
comparable to rich embroidered vestments- an
English specialty famed throughout Europe and
known as English Work. Although, the French and
the English has once both enter the Gothic period,
the difference can be seen between the two. Each
has its own unique style that classified them as
French or English work. Such as in France, the
stained-glass and the introduction of the
triforium, while in England, the Flamboyant style
standout. Furthermore, the Salisbury faade differs
emphatically from the faade of either Notre-Dame
or Amiens Cathedrals. Also different is the
emphasis on the great crossing tower, which
dominate the silhouette.

In addition, the height
in English cathedral is modest compared to those
in France..

Research essay sample on Gothic Architecture In French And English Cathedrals