Gothic Styles

Dylan Valade
AH 101-57
15 Oct. 1998
Dr. Koch

I. A religious basis is one of the few similarities Gothic cathedrals and Greek temples share. The enormous size and intricate details of each building show the city\'s wealth, power, and pride. The interior of Gothic cathedrals depends on natural light while it\'s the exterior of Greek temples that benefits from sunlight.
Temples and cathedrals serve mainly to present a physical way for people to feel more spiritual. These buildings served as places of worship for the entire community. They were built near the majority of the population. The architecture had to be beautiful because it represented "God" or one of many gods.
Marble was the general medium for Greek temples. Marble was very exquisite, it showed wealth, and when it was freshly polished sunlight would make the building glow. The entire building was made of marble: steps, statues, columns, roof, etc. It was very important to present the exterior of the temple because very few men ever entered the shrine. Every temple had a definite structure based on mathematics. The Parthenon has a width of eight columns and the length of twice eight plus one: seventeen. They believed that nature and math coincided. Greeks tried to personify their architecture. We can see the entasis of the columns, the outward bulge that shows a muscular, human effect. In order to make the temple even more appealing to the eye, all horizontal lines were raised slightly in the center. All columns are tilted inward and corner columns are placed closer together to show stability. The Parthenon, unlike Gothic cathedrals, tries to prevent too much light from occupying the space inside the building. The entire emphasis of the Greek temple was to impress people with the outer beauty.
In 1140 near Paris, France the Gothic style is invented with the construction of the Royal Abbey Church of St.-Denis. The purpose for this and all other cathedrals is to provide a place to worship the Catholic god. Polytheism has been completely replaced by the coming of Jesus and the current belief in one god. The themes of most Gothic art revolved around Christ and the Virgin Mary. The most popular symbol became the cross; a very noble sign based on the crucifix.
The most obvious characteristic of the cathedrals is their incredible height. Tall cathedrals proved wealth and power as well as serving as markers for pilgrims. Pointed arches, ribbed groin vaults, and flying buttresses were implemented to erect huge cathedrals. The nave was extremely important. Stained glass transformed natural light into divine presence. A cathedral\'s artwork was not limited only to sculpture and manipulation of the eye. Various mediums were used in Gothic cathedrals: frescoes, mosaics, architecture, buttresses, stained glass, and pinnacles were all common examples.
Both styles would\'ve grasped the imagination of every person in its culture. Communities valued the buildings and the religious meaning represented by each structure.

II. Religion is clearly the dominant subject of art in every culture. Egyptians represented animals as gods in their media. The throne of King Tutankhamen is furnished with two Anubis heads on the arms. The Anubis was associated with one of the most important components of Egyptian culture, mummification. King Narmer\'s palette is a low relief carving that shows how Narmer unified Egypt by the grace of Horus and Hathor. Horus, shown as a falcon, represents the sky god. Hathor, portrayed by a bull, communicates Narmer\'s tremendous power.
In the Roman fresco, Bacchic Mysteries, shows the importance of their god of wine and fertility. This mural painting uses colors, initiation rites, and superstitions to transmit the artist\'s views to his audience. Purple drapery suggests a royal quality while the dark red background gives the scene a dramatic tone. In our society, whipping naked women at a party isn\'t usually considered acceptable. Whipping women in this scene is a method of ensuring fertility. We can see a woman running in terror from a selious, a half-beast from the woods. When we look closer it appears the selious has told the woman her fortune by looking at the residue of her wine.
Stained-glass is generally found occupying windows in Christian buildings. The vibrant colors create an aura that was a metaphor for the Heavenly Jerusalem that was described in the