Gothic art

Origins and Etymology of Gothic Art
– Gothic art emerged in Île-de-France, France, in the early 12th century at the Abbey Church of St Denis.
– Monastic orders played a significant role in disseminating the style across Europe.
– The term ‘Gothic’ was initially used pejoratively to describe medieval art.
– Gothic art was initially criticized before becoming a recognized form of art.
– The Gothic qualifier for this art was first used by Raphael in a letter to Pope Leo X.
– Italian artist and writer Giorgio Vasari popularized the term, calling Gothic art a ‘monstrous and barbarous disorder.’

Gothic Painting
– Painting in the Gothic style emerged around 1200.
– Gothic paintings featured smaller figures in relation to the background and a more freely arranged pictorial space.
– Figures in Gothic paintings became more animated in pose and facial expression.

Gothic Sculpture
– The earliest Gothic art was monumental sculpture found on the walls of Cathedrals and abbeys.
– Images of the Virgin Mary in Gothic sculpture evolved from Byzantine iconic forms to more human and affectionate portrayals.
– Sculpture played a significant role in the resurgence of Marian devotion during the Gothic period.

Secular Art
– Secular art flourished during the Gothic period due to the rise of cities, universities, trade, and a money-based economy.
– Increased literacy and secular vernacular literature encouraged the representation of secular themes in art.
– Artists and their patrons became more confident in innovative iconography, resulting in greater originality in Gothic art.

Other Forms of Gothic Art
– Stained glass was an important and prestigious form of painting in northern Europe until the 15th century.
– Illuminated manuscripts provide a complete record of Gothic painting.
– Altarpiece and panel painting became popular in the 15th and 16th centuries.
– Gothic sculpture is defined by Gothic architecture and its development does not entirely align with the start and finish of the period.
– Portable sculpture, independent Gothic sculpture, and Gothic sculptural subjects were also prominent during this period.Sources: