Gothic style encompasses many forms of art including sculpture and furniture, but no discipline was more visually masterful than that of Gothic architecture. Flying Buttress. This Italian cathedral is one of the largest in the world, with construction beginning in 1386 by Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo and spanning almost six centuries. It is characterized by its facade which extends into an array of spires and pinnacles. Recorded for the first time in Christian architecture during the Gothic era, the pointed arch was used to direct the weight of the vaulted roof downward along its ribs. The profound intricacies and architectural advancements of the era continue to live on through the buildings and cathedrals still intact throughout Europe. The cathedral has the largest masonry dome in the world, standing over 10 stories high with over 4 million bricks used. Their silhouette emphasized the height of each structure and symbolically pointed towards the sky. It was the largest of the three great Gothic cathedrals built in France during the 13th century, and still stands as the tallest today. Beginning in 1337, the series of conflicts between England and France during the Hundred Years’ War led to a reduction in religious architecture and increase in military and civil buildings, leading to more Flamboyant designs appearing in many town halls and even domestic residences. Reims Cathedral. Each is characterized by different design elements, styles, and engineering advancements. The Early Gothic period in northern France was rife with growth and prosperity, and citizens had the resources to build in the grandiose style that the movement promoted. Known as La Gargouille, the beast was vanquished and its head mounted on a newly built church, as an example and warning. Early Gothic architecture represents the style between the years 1120 and 1200. One of the most iconic examples is the two rose windows on the north and south of the transept of the Notre Dame Cathedral. Much of the High Gothic era is referred to as “Rayonnant Gothic,” a style which appeared in the 13th century. Since literacy was not widespread during this time, the stained glass windows offered worshippers an illustration of Bible stories in the form of color and light. He believed art was central to a religious experience and reconstructed the choir and facade of The Abbey of Saint-Denis in northern Paris in 1144 to reflect this. The name 'Gothic' is retrospective; Renaissance builders scoffed at the whimsical construction devoid of symmetry, and used the term as a derisive reference to the barbarous Germanic tribes that pillaged Europe in the third and fourth centuries - the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths. It is one of the oldest and most famous structures in England. These are the type of vaults used in the construction of Amiens and Reims Cathedrals in early 13th-century France. Gothic architecture was originally referred to as Opus Francigenum, or “French Work,” until the 16th century when it became known as “Gothic.” The rich history of Gothic architecture is divided into three distinct phases: Early, High, and Late. The Early Gothic style swiftly spread across Europe, appearing in Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and England. Stained glass windows are a prominent feature in many churches, and Gothic architects held them in the highest regard. There are examples of extraordinary Gothic cathedrals throughout Europe, each rich with its own history and unique style. One of the most notable examples of Flamboyant Gothic architecture is that of the Rouen Cathedral in France, whose construction lasted over three centuries and allowed various towers to draw upon Flamboyant, decorative characteristics. It was built on the site of 25 coronations of the kings of France. Its famous twin towers reach over 220 feet with almost 400 steps in total. Gothic architecture is a European style of masonry that values height, intricacy, sizable windows, and exaggerated arches. Its signature elements—the ribbed vault, flying buttresses, and pointed arch—are evident in some of the most spectacular buildings around Europe like that of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. Throughout the more stylistic Gothic eras, vaults with decorative, ornamental ribs were added for aesthetic purposes. Basilica of Saint-Denis, Saint-Denis, France. More ribs were added to the basic Romanesque barrel vault to increase the transfer of loads to the ground.