Gothic Art is a term that is used to describe the medieval art of Europe that began to emerge from the mid-12th Century. Its place of origin was France, but it spread and evolved through much of western Europe and was still significant in parts of Germany until late into the 16th Century.
Characteristics of Gothic art
Gothic art developed from an earlier movement known as Romanesque - a form of art and architecture that held on to the influences of the Roman and Byzantine empires through features such as barrel vaults, aspes, high reliefs, and Byzantine iconography.
The ideas of Gothic art were originally based in architecture, and first appeared in French abbeys such as the Church of St Denis built by Abbott Suger.
The style quickly caught on, and was soon the major influence on the media of fresco, stained glass, illuminated manuscripts, and panel painting.
Origins of the term 'Gothic'
The use of the word Gothic originally had negative connotations in Europe, being linked to the barbaric and primitive tribes whose individual pillaging and looting of settlements along the Roman border eventually developed into a united drive that resulted in the sacking of Rome in 410AD.
In the eyes of many, this invasion marked the death of the Classical world and its art forms and values, and the new styles introduced by these Gothic tribes was criticized as being 'unrefined'. The Italian painter and architect Raphael even suggested that the pointed arches used in Gothic architecture were reminiscent of primitive huts made by the bending of tree boughs!