5 Stunning Gothic Cathedrals

Cathedral of Santa Maria, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Palma de Mallorca Catedral de Santa María
This sandstone Cathedral is both the pinnacle of Majorcan architecture and an orchestra demonstrating the glory of religious handiwork. It appears like a fortress on the hillside, absolutely glowing with Spanish sun. It was built on the foundations of a Moorish mezquita (mosque) and sports massive external buttresses. The support system’s elegance and practicality lend historians to believe that Catalan master mason Berenguer de Montagut (known to have worked on the Catedral de Manresa and at Santa María del Mar in Barcelona) was summoned for this island cathedral’s construction.

Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral, England

This Cathedral, built ca. 1337-60, was presumably built by the royal master mason Thomas of Canterbury. It was formally a Benedictine abbey church and the Benedictines residing there were interested in keeping as much of the original building as possible. The master mason used lattice work with vertical and horizontal lines to satisfy the abbey’s wishes, and is, in fact, a continuation of the Decorative style. However, what makes the Gloucester Cathedral special out of Decorative Gothic architecture, is that the motifs were entirely standardised. This style was continued well throughout the 14th century in England because of the architectural possibilities.

Marienkirche LübeckMarienkirche, Lübeck, Germany

Unlike other parts of Europe, the Gothic architecture of Northern Europe, including the Germanic regions, is often structurally more simple, yet colossal. The Marienkirche is no exception. It has bright turquoise towers, menacing in their almost minimalist lack of decoration. The spires are incredibly steep, and the entire floorplan of the building is surprisingly wide. A gorgeous Cathedral with much gold plating, the interior is spectacular, yet without ostentatious architectural decoration.

Milan CathedralMilan Cathedral, Italy

As we all know (pfft!), Milan was the seat of the Lombardi rulers during the Gothic architectural period, and as connoisseurs of the arts, the Lombardis funded the building of gorgeous structures such as the Milan Cathedral. It was built in the late 14th century, around 1387, and sports a double aisle structure that allows for a wider floorplan and the aesthetic depth of multiple rows of columns. There were severe issues in building this Cathedral because of the dimensions and weight distribution necessary for it to be as tall as it was wide. While it was completed in construction in 1572, the final additions of decorations were added in the 19th century. While you can’t see it well from the pictures I provide, I urge you to look at the windows of this structure, especially along the choir and transept. They have organic, Elven-esque patterns that are stunning, even in photographs.

Albi Cathedral

Albi Cathedral, France

Formally known as the Cathedral of Ste.-Cécile, this gorgeous Cathedral (shown above) was built in 1287, and it doesn’t look like much but a large sandy block from the outside. But when you walk inside, one notices the immense amount of handiwork, not to mention architectural splendor of this magnificent construction. While it appears much like a keep from the outside, almost bulky and clumsy, the interior has vast, breathtaking painting and gold lining.

If you’re interested in any of these Gothic pieces, I urge you to go visit them yourself! Of course, not all of us can enjoy this luxury, so consider investing in the book Gothic, by Könemann, for an in-depth look into Gothic architecture, sculpture, and painting. Almost all of the structural information I’ve noted here has been from this book, and it contains breathtaking photographs that cannot be found on the internet.

-A.

 

Photos Courtesy of:

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