gothical cathedral: The Cologne cathedral
Lichtdurchfluteter Raum: Chor des Veitsdoms in Prag
Lichtdurchfluteter area: Choir of the Veitsdoms in Prague

the gothic is one style-pounds the European art of the Middle Ages. It developed around 1140 in the Île de France (area of Paris) and lasted north the alpsuntil approximately 1500. The building and art style prevailing before are as Romanesque, which following as Renaissance well-known. The gothical style is not to be defined only in architecture exactly, during this in the areas plastics and painting in sameClarity is possible.

The gothic was one epoch of the Verbildlichung of the Christian idea world and availed itself thereby to large extent of the symbolism and Allegorie. Outstanding art creation is the gothical cathedral, the synthesis of the arts of the Middle Ages, architecture, plastics and (glass) paintinguniting. With respect to architecture one differentiates further early, high and late gothic, which were differently fast transferred in the different European landscapes.

The designation “gothic” (v. ital. gotico strangely, barbarianly (originally an insult word), derived from the designation of the Teuton trunk of the Goten) coined/shaped in the Renaissance of the Italian art theoretician Giorgio Vasari, its depreciating the medieval art in relation to the “golden age” of the antique ones expressing. Even if the evaluation Vasaris is today not divided - it has the epoch its namepushed open.

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emergence of the style in France

prototype of the west front: Ehem. Monastic church Saint Denis

the choir new building of the monastic church of Saint Denis, which was built by the royal chancellor and abbott Suger, is considered as building of initials of the gothic. Herebecame for the first time the burgundische pointed elbow (example: Cluny) with the normannischen Kreuzrippengewölbe (example: Sp-Étienne in Caen, Gewölbe starting from 1120) combines and the Gewölbelasten derived to prop columns. Thus could be done without the solid wall prevailing so far as static element.The reduction of the wall surface in favor of of windows, possible thereby, did not only make as that of the Roman “ God castles ”, it for the church possible a grazileres appearance was also much more strongly through-flooded by the light.

Economic basis for the gothic was the Erstarken of the FrenchKönigtums in 12. Jh. at expense of the low aristocracy (see also:History of France). The new building of Saint Denis, which grave-puts royal, is the architectural formulation of a very comprehensive requirement for rule of the French Königtums opposite the barons, in addition, opposite its worstAdversary, the king of England: The front of Saint Denis, at the same time Triumphbogen and castle, is quasi the rewiedererschaffung of the karolingischen west work. The front developed itself directly before the choir and is not yet completely as “gothical” to be arranged, during italready from the forms of the Romanesque solved.

Precondition for the development gothical architecture making possible architecture was the development of the productive forces (technology, work talent and - organization) in the surrounding field of the blossoming citizen cities promoted by the king.

Success prescription for thosefurther development of the style was that each large's building reached before it summarized and basis for the follow-up's buildings at the same time became. The cathedrals of Sens, Senlis, Noyon, Paris and Laon were important stations on the way to ripe one (high gothic), thosealready at the beginning 13. Jh in Chartres, Soissons, Reims and Amiens was reached. From there out the style spread by internationally working building masters in completely Europe.

bases of gothical architecture

Betonung der Vertikalen: Lübecker Marienkirche
stress of the vertical ones: Lübecker Marienkirche
schematic structure of a gothical Gewölbes
of parts of the Kreuzrippengewölbes of the cathedral of route, Eugène Viollet le Duc, 1856
  • the gothic stood in the sharpest contrast to the architecture of the antique ones (theselaws from support and load created)
  • the most frequent form of the sketch in the building of churches are, like already in the Romanesque, latin cross.
  • broken open, high walls with large windows: The Romanesque coined/shaped a substantial building method of wall and solidiumwith small windows. In the gothic the wall was dissolved by filigranes a system by columns, which carried the load of the Gewölbes in perpendicular direction. One used multiplicity of wide windows, those within the wall range the building easily andto appear light-through-flooded left. In order to catch those, by the mass-poor building method in the columns of arising, enormous transverse forces, one invented that at the external's building attached filigrane wing unit of the prop columns and, in order to keep the transverse forces as small as possible, the pointed elbow. The interior became upthis way of some static elements releases. One can assume each element of a gothical solidium is basic. Nevertheless many cathedrals collapsed still during the building phase or had to be strengthened later, due to arising tears, with further strength-deriving elements.The building masters of the gothic proceeded according to the principle trial and error and created thereby breath-robbing constructions. According to modern statics regulations no more cathedral might stand.
  • Pointed elbow: The large innovation of the pointed elbow technology consisted of the fact that with a meant square asSketch not, but 2 Rundbögen with common Mittelstein were placed to 4 Rundbögen over the 4 sides of the square over the two diagonals. Thus the stability of the Gewölbes was secured, and statically now the less important elbows over the 4 sideswere built pointedly upward, in order to receive the same height as the two longer and higher Rundbögen over the diagonals. One calls this Gewölbetechnik Kreuzrippengewölbe, which also makes it possible to provide a Gewölbejoch over a rectangular sketch. Thusbecomes freer the organization as in the Romanesque. In the further development of the style Netzgewölbe also complicated were provided. For the style the use of Gewölberippen remained characteristic.
  • the stress of the vertical ones: For the building of churches of the gothic is typicalthe stress the vertical one. The Gewölbe reached crown levels to 48m (Beauvais collapsed and remained unfinished, choir in Cologne cathedral the 45m. In the comparison the Roman cathedral to Speyer: 33 m).
  • slim structured columns, usually with polygonal sketch, those usuallywith services are stood around
  • the ornamental art consisted of geometrical forms, like e.g. Circles and elbows, which are implemented in Werkstein and are inserted into the windows. One calls this tracery. One took the collecting mains to these many gothical ornamentationsfrom the plant world. A special role played thereby oak leaves. In addition, motives and forms from the human being and animal world were like. At the points of Giebeln and towers one often used a Kreuzblume as ornamentation (also Wimperg compared). In the late gothic finally and more complicated forms also more devoured are trained in various fish blisters - and flame samples (Flamboyant).

building masters

in the gothic transferred for the first time lay planners and craftsman the building happening and became the carriersthe new art, while it was still firm at times of the Romanesque in the hand of the monasteries, which operated their architecture anonymous. Thus the occupations of the building masters , sculptors and the free stone-cutter arose. Both moved itself freely betweenthe different building huts, thus the building enterprises. It concerned free worker federations, which admits as “Urgestein” of the free craftsmen is. Proper building master families developed, as for example the Parler, those among other things in Swabian Gmündbuilt, at the Ulmer Münster, at the Prager Veitsdom and at the city hall in Krakau. Stone-cutters are in particular not well-known, but their individual stone-cutter characters are to be found at different building sites across Central Europe. Building masters and sculptors perpetuated themselves frequently alreadygladly in the face courses of figures of their works, for example with Nebenfiguren in scenes from the Bible.

A further well-known building master family from Southern Germany are the Eselers: Nikolaus Eseler the older one and Nikolaus Eseler the younger one, thoselategothical Münster pc. George as resounding church in Dinkelsbühl created.


the gothical stylistic idiom spread in Germany only with some delay.Partly one must speak also of a “transition style” between Romanesque and gothic, e.g. with the cathedrals of Limburg a.d. Lahn and Bamberg. The appearance resembles here mostly still the wuchtigen, Roman churches; individual building parts point however already gothical tendenciesup. The local lateRoman building traditions were displaced usually only very zögerlich by the western innovations.

The first purely gothical buildings of churches on today's German national territory were off approx. 1230 the dear woman church in Trier and the Elizabeth church in Marburg. The competitive thingHalberstädter cathedral chapter began for his part with the building of a high-gothical cathedral (cathedral to half) after Reimser model, by which however only three nave yokes could be realized, the remaining building dragged on until against 1500. The large cathedral church is one of the few in the Middle Ages completed large's buildings of Europe, it is considered to many art historians as the best “German” conversion of the French Kathedralschemas. The high-gothical parts of the cathedral in Cologne (only in 19. With perfection), the western models try century after the original plansto exceed. The large's buildings of Cologne and Beauvais reached the border statically and structurally possible ones, which led with the French example even to the collapse of large construction units. Bayerns only “French” cathedral is the rain citizen cathedral, the model pc. Urbain in Troyes is here obvious. The Strassburger Münster belonged today to France, may be considered however as a Hauptwerk of the German high gothic. Particularly its west front stands on a stage with the best achievements of western building masters. In the close Freiburg in mash gau developed alsoMünster a further Hauptwerk of German gothic, the main tower with its broken through helmet applies for some than the “most beautiful tower of the Christianity”.

Beside the large bishop churches developed rapidly numerous parish churches in the cities, which sometimes reached the extents of the buildings of cathedralsor even exceeded (Ulm, Freiburg in mash gau). The German gothic separated ever more from the western model, it developed the so-called “German special gothic”, also “reduction gothic” mentioned. Characteristic of this special development is usually substantial beside that “simpler” outside featureGerman Sakralbauten (renouncement of complex open prop systems) also the simplification of the sketches and the preference of the hall construction way. Those resounds made possible however the development of some complex curving systems, “German” churches from the magnificent net or bolting serrating tightness curving is often spanned (Anna mountain, free mountain). Particularly the late gothic created here important examples. To local centers develop:

the resounding churches represent Peter


Regensburg) to resounding churches a special form of the gothical building of churches.In addition, particularly in Germany was this building type likes, it occurs in France (Poitiers among other things) and other countries.

In the course of the special development of the German gothic resounds the preferential building pattern became, particularly city parish churches often became as resoundingor relay resounding realizes. Contrary to the Basilika here all side ships possess the same height, so that the church ship of an enormous resounds resembles. Impressive particularly are the resounding handling choirs of pc. Sebald and pc. Lorenz in Nuremberg.

A Zwischenform is the mentionedRelay-resounds (Pseudobasilika), which was common in the late gothic particularly. Here the central ship is somewhat more highly than the side ships, on its own exposure by windows was however done without. Similarly as with the genuine become the Gewölbe resound usually from the enormous,one-piece roof spans. The Spanish gothic created however some enormous relay resounding with durchfensterten Obergaden.

Often older Basiliken later zweischiffige resounding than side ships was added, sometimes with rich Gewölbefigurationen (Ulmer Münster, Augsburger cathedral), those sometimes like independentChurch rooms work.

buildings of everyday

differently than in the Romanesque, are from the gothicnumerous buildings of everyday receive. While the Sakralbau stated the gothical architectural development, also the building of everyday could not extract itself from the new developments. Differently than with the building of churches the appropriateness before the artistic organization stood (for example laminar wall form). Characteristics are for example the shapingthe windows and doors, Treppengiebel, cat stairs and if necessary Gewölbetechnik so mentioned. The following developments are to be held:

  • Transformation of the castle to the lock: The military purpose of the prince castle withdrew in the process of the gothic increasingly behind the living purpose. The change in warfare(Feuerwaffen, professional armies) the meaning of the attachment reduced, while the representation will in addition-steps again. The gothical building of castles took over numerous elements of sakralen architecture, occasionally developed even cloister-similar inner courts. Numerous halls and chambers were in-curved now, tracery-decorated window rows broke through the external walls, richly decoratedgothical chapels developed. Particularly in the late gothic developed here everyday masterpieces as for instance the Albrechtsburg in Meissen, the Wladislawsaal of the Prager castle or the richly verzierten castle locks in Amboise and Josselin as well as the duke palace in Poitiers (around 1390) inFrance. As the largest building of everyday the Marienburg of the German medal in Poland is considered to the gothic.
  • the city attachment becomes the most important task of building of the city citizens. In Germany many cities receive high-gothical time their city and attachment right in early or. Firm bricking starting from the second half 12 develops. Jh. Beside thatmilitary towers and buildings of gates develop for actual wall. With the spreading of the Feuerwaffen military towers change themselves of high designs to low, solid turrets, and the buildings of gates developed to complex gate castles. Extensive Stadtmauern are today particularly in Franconias received (Rothenburg whether that deaf one, Dinkelsbühl, Nuremberg).
  • the gothical housing was in west, after central and Northern Europe coined/shaped to a large extent by the half timbered house, however developed - particularly in South Germany,Austria and east Central Europe - numerous cities and markets with houses from work or bricks. To characteristic of such gothical cities received today are the partly in-curved summerhouse courses, which were in former times usually used as considered “stands”. In Bavaria and Austria are here above all land hat, castle living, Neuötting, to call Braunau and Innsbruck. Also the numerous, cities of Poland, Böhmens and Mährens put on in the course of the Ostkolonisation their gothical sketches have themselves still well retained, often became such colonial cities overenormous market places (rings) put on. As examples are aforementioned Domazlice , Telc , Budweis , Pilsen and Krakau.
  • With the meaning increase of the medieval city need according to urban buildings of functions develops:
    • The city hall is multi-purpose building for advice room, festival room, bar, trade (Luebeckstarting from 1230, Brügge starting from 1376, Perugia off… and many different). The increasing representation need of wealthy cities strikes itself in size and expenditure of the buildings down (Brussels starting from 1402, lion starting from 1439), these high points of urban everyday architecture becomes therefore every now and then as “cathedralsthe middle class " designates.

    • depending upon size and meaning of the city step other community buildings in addition how: Cloth and meat resounding(Ypern starting from 1250, Antwerp starting from 1509), guild and Gildehäuser (Gent/house of the free boat operators starting from 1530), dance and wedding houses (Cologne/Gürzenich starting from 1447).
    • Particularly in Flanders and Italy a Belfried - often in the height competing with church towers - symbolizes the power of the city.
    • schools and hospitals are usually operated by monasteries, particularly of Franziskanern, therefore these buildings of functions are often integrated into the city monasteries.
  • of farmhouses: In the alpine region the Ladiner knows the gothical house, usually herrschaftliche houses such as courts, as an example of ladinischer house types.

brick gothic

Major item: Brick gothic

in north and northeast Germany, Scandinavia and Poland developed the special form of the brick gothic. Large Sakralbauten from this building material possesses Luebeck (Marienkirche ) , Stralsund, Wismar , grab forest and bath Doberan in Germany for instance. Particularly the Lübecker Marienkircheserved as model for numerous further churches in completely Nord-und northeast Europe. It orients itself - material-causes in more simplified - form to the classical Kathedralgotik, also the open prop system of western cathedrals into brick was transferred here.

Also in Bavaria are in the stone-poor landscapes of upper and Lower Bavaria numerous buildings of bricks. The Sakralbauten is implemented, sometimes rich living A ORNAMENTs was usually trained as resounding. A well-known example is the woman church in Munich. Land hat, its main church possesses the highest brick tower of the worldPc. Martin stands in the middle in one of the best received gothical old parts of town of Europe.

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Screen end art

the gothic spread in the forming art at the beginning 13. Century over Europe out. For the epoch those are characteristic partially extra large and majestically represented figures in little realistic environments. The perspective is often distortedand the central (usually Biblical figures ) move into the center. Increasing interest in humans entails a more realistic representation method. As most important representatives this naturalism is considered Giotto di Bondone, who is the basis for the Italian painting of the modern times.Most figurative representations of the gothic show religious motives. Representations of scenes from the Bible constitute the main part of the paintings and altar wings. For gothical art the so-called switch style is characteristic. Appear pupateful and mütterlich to Madonnas. Prevailing colorsare red and gold, mostly as demonstration of special holyness or importance of the persons shown. Most important representative “switches” of the style is Stephan Lochner, which one counts to the so-called “Cologne school”. The late gothic mixes gothical elements with those thatItalian Renaissance. As characteristic for the late gothic weight style is often called. This is characterised by detail realism and nature observation. Topics become due to the new world view of always frequent panorama and overview landscapes, those with material representation and extreme depthshine. Forerunners for this painting were Van of the Weyden and January van Eyck, who introduced the Renaissance painting. In Germany here above all Albrecht Dürer, created Martin Schongauer, Matthias's Green forest and Konrad joke important works. Screen end artist of theThe late Middle Ages were also Bernt Notke and Hermen Rode. Numerous Wandmalereien of the gothic remain however anonymous.

in the plastic art was Veit impact of one of the most important artists of the gothic; it worked in particular in Krakau and Nuremberg. Its well-known width unit work is the largest gothical altar of the world, that Krakauer high altar, which is in the Marienkirche in Krakau.


music history is not common roll ago categorization “gothical”. Rather the different schools are differentiated at present the gothic:

recapitulatory developed the music in this time to an extremely designed Mehrstimmigkeit, partly with different and even verschiedensprachigen texts in the individual voices. In 14.Century shifted the emphasis of the development of the Mehrstimmigkeit on the lay music, while up to then religious music was prominent.

In the lay music it comes into 13. Jh to a bloom of the Minnesangs (roll ago of the bird pasture, Tannhäuser, tungsten of ash brook). Sociological paging at present the gothic from the Rittertum to the middle class has its parallel in the development from the Minnesang to master-sang (Hans Sachs).


since that 19. Centurybecomes for one in the center 15. Century in South Germany uses type of arms with reference to the late gothic the designation gothical Harnisch, arisen. These disk arms were extremely characteristic due to their slim, rising forms and the use of gothical sheet work ofthis art epoch. Contrary to the gothical architectural style such arms found also in Italy spreading. At the beginning 16. Century the gothical Harnische were displaced by arms with rounder, körperlicheren forms.


  • Ulrich Coenen: The lategothical foreman books inGermany as contribution to the medieval architectural theory - investigation and edition of the training writings for draft and execution of Sakralbauten. Publishing house Mainz, Aachen 1989
  • Géza Entz: The art of the gothic. Emil Vollmer publishing house, Munich, 1981, ISBN 3-87876-340-9
  • briefly Gerstenberg: German special gothic. Scientific book company, Darmstadt 1969
  • Hans Jantzen: Art of the gothic. Classical cathedrals of France. Chartres, Reims, Amiens, Rowohlt paperback publishing house, Hamburg 1957
  • Dieter Kimpel, Robert Suckale: Gothical architecture in France. 1130 - 1270. Munich 1985
  • SonjaUlrike intelligent:Cathedral of the cosmos. Holy geometry of Chartres. Bath Honnef 2. Aufl. 2005, ISBN 3-9810245-1-6
  • Werner Mueller: Bases gothical civil engineering. Munich 1990
  • Norbert nut tree: German church architecture of the gothic. (2. Edition). Darmstadt 1994
  • Uwe A. Oster: The large cathedrals. Gothical architecture in Europe. Darmstadt 2003, ISBN 3-89678-240-1
  • Regina E. G. Schymiczek: Over your walls, Jerusalem, I have guards ordered… To the development of the Wasserspeierformen to Cologne cathedral. (European university writings: Row 28, history of art, 402). European publishing housethe sciences, Frankfurt/Main, Berlin, Berne, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford and Vienna 2004 [zugl. Diss. Bochum 2003, 246 S., zahlr. Ill., 1 folding sheet], ISBN 3-631-52060-3
  • Hans Sedlmayr: The emergence of the cathedral. Zurich 1950
  • Otto von Simson: The gothicalCathedral. Scientific book company, Darmstadt 1968
  • Rolf Toman (Hrsg): The art of the gothic: Architecture, sculpture, painting. - King winters, 2004. - ISBN 3-8331-1038-4
  • Ernst Ullmann: The world of the gothical cathedral. Union publishing house, Berlin, 1981, ISBN 3-85063-117-6

See also

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