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  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: March 2008

11 - Architecture

from Part I - General Themes
Summary
The fourteenth century saw the triumphant expansion of Gothic architecture from a largely French into a wholly European phenomenon. Gothic emerged as an international language of extraordinary formal diversity. The fourteenth century saw the heyday of European municipalities. Independent, wealthy and ambitious, towns mounted an equally creative challenge to the ecclesiastical monopoly of Gothic. Within the walls, communal governments found themselves responsible for new types of urban architecture. For the later Middle Ages, the holy resided as much in innumerable small heavens as in the architecture of the cosmos. Medieval churches were experienced as a spiritually graded progression of discrete spaces, approached through real and symbolic thresholds, and demarcated by arches or niches. In church architecture the most adventurous developments of the Rayonnant system took place in Germany, where they mingled with a stimulating infusion of local traditions and short-lived but decisive influences from England.
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The New Cambridge Medieval History
  • Online ISBN: 9781139055741
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521362900
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