Origin of Gothic Art (IV)

Written by Alfonso Elizondo

 

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Now we turn to Spain, where the Burgos Cathedral is one of the most beautiful works of Gothic art in the world, and is the main display of classical Gothic architecture of the monarchy of Castile and of the entire Spain. This basilica replaced the Romanesque church with three naves that preceded it and that was promoted by Alfonso VI at the end of the 11th century. The project was given to Bishop Don Mauricio by King Fernando III.

In the Gothic cathedral of Burgos there are two distinct stages: that of the classic XIII and XIV century Gothic, where the first master builders emerged, and the second one with the flamboyant Gothic style that was applied by the colonial family. To this day the identity of the first master builder of the cathedral is unknown, but it is alleged that it was a foreigner, probably French, since he brought a way of building that is called classic Gothic today, totally unknown in Spain at the beginning of the XIII century.

Gothic stained glass windows were already being used in Romanesque art but they reached their peak in Gothic art. They were a kind of mosaic that ran from the upper part of the church to the lower part with references to biblical passages, which replaced the mural painting that dominated Romanesque art. The stained glass windows had the double function of decorating and illuminating the interior of the churches. In its early years, Gothic art did not appear as a new form of artistic expression; it was a mature art coming out of several centuries of experimentation and study.

The transformation of Romanesque Art into Gothic Art and of Gothic into Renaissance was not abrupt and immediate, but was a slow, quiet process during which Gothic forms were gradually incorporated into the former style and moved towards the style that was to come. One could say that the origin of the Gothic stain glass window was in the first half of the 13th century and its final stage towards the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th when there were interesting fusions of styles.

Addendum: It can be concluded that Gothic style and its wonderful architecture is still the most representative and the most beautiful that existed in Europe in the five centuries of the High Middle Ages. It was the clearest expression of the strong alliance between the Christian Church and the great feudal lords that created a state model that has been controling power until the present time, with very slight changes.