GOTHIC– not just a lifestyle


“The principle of the Gothic architecture is infinity made imaginable.”

Samuel Tayler Coleridge

 

Today, if you mention Goth, people are likely to think of young people dressed all in black, wearing black makeup and heavy jewelry. But most of us are aware that originally the term referred to a Germanic tribe of people, considered barbarians and to a kind of architecture which was initially considered crude and rather ugly. But, in time, Gothic architecture dominated European construction for several centuries during the Middle Ages. The Gothic style church or cathedral was an engineering marvel. The creative addition of “flying buttresses” allowed for the grand cathedrals to be built taller and taller. Characteristic of Gothic style were the vaulted ceilings within and the peaked or pointed arches for doors and windows. Churches especially became more and more elaborate. Ultimately, thanks in good part to the engineering achievements of Gothic architects, styles turned to more ornate and decorative looks found in the Baroque and Rococo periods.

Here in the States, for a long period, simplicity of line, the lower, more humble wooden churches with the pointed steeples were the dominant features of churches – reflecting the Puritan and Pilgrim ethic that found Gothic and Baroque architecture sinfully elaborate and a reminder of “papism.” So until the influx of large Catholic populations of immigrants in the early to mid-1800s, one would have had to search a long while to find a Gothic or Baroque style church. Now, some of our most beautiful treasures are the Gothic style churches and cathedrals prevalent in large cities across the country. Even the non-denominational National Cathedral is a gorgeous example of beautifully engineered Gothic style churches.

In the early 1900s there was a resurgence of interest in this type of architecture during the “neo-gothic” period. Smaller, less ambitious or dramatic examples of Gothic style churches were built in small towns and city suburbs. Pictured here is one of the loveliest examples of that trend…Baker Memorial United Methodist Church in East Aurora, NY. The congregation originated in 1822, moved to its present location in 1878 but replaced that wooden structure with this beautiful stone church done in a simplified Gothic style – without gargoyles or elaborate ornamentation. Aside from its simple, elegant lines, Baker Memorial boasts these inviting arched doorways with their artistically carved doors but its crowning glory is the 17 stained glass windows handcrafted by Louis Tiffany, created from the metallic looking, richly colored glass for which he is most famous. Each depicts a biblical scene rather than being purely decorative. The Church conducts tours by appointment just to view the windows.

Clearly, Gothic isn’t about lifestyle only – nor is it dark and brooding. In fact, this entry is a truly warm invitation.

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Lianne’s Loft – Fine Art

A Warm Invitation

A Warm Invitation

 

 

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