The Cathedral Amiens was built in 1152 with the Romanesque style and burnt in 1218 by lightnings. The reconstruction was started in about 1220 and the nave was completed in about 1245.The choir was started to reconstruct in about 1238 and completed befor 1269 and the most of part including transept was completed in 1288. The south tower was constructed in about 1366, and the north tower was done in about 1401.
Amiens Cathedral, in the heart of Picardy and a couple of hours’ drive north of Paris, one of the largest and most “classical” of French cathedrals of the 13th century in Gothic era. It is the tallest complete cathedral in France. It is notable for the coherence of its plan, the beauty of its three-tier interior elevation and the particularly fine display of sculptures on the principal façade in the south transept. Although there are some other Cathedrals are more omate, Amiens is the largest and the most famous one. And the inside of the cathedral shows the sign of the new way of the matured Gothic design such as the triforium of the choir. It was fitted by stained grasses and produced bright upper part of the elevation with clerestory as if it was two-story. Originally the triforium of the nave was to be fitted by stained grasses as well as the choir but it changed to the wall because of the structural reason for the three meter extention of the nave’s height. The style of the seven radiating chapels facing double ambulatory of the choir became a model of the cathedrals
The term Gothic was first used during the later Renaissance, and as a term of contempt. Some people also said that Gothic is the style arose after the manner of the barbarous nations erected buildings. “The ancient Greek and Roman architecture answered all the perfections required in a faultless and accomplished building, but Goths and Vandals destroyed these and introduced in their stead a certain fantastical and licentious manner of building: congestions of heavy, dark, melancholy, monkish piles, without any just proportion, use of beauty.” (Evelyn) The technical revolution in architecture known as “Gothic” began at the end of the 12th century and lasted just over two hundred years. It was a significant structural improvement upon the Romanesque building that preceded it. As with almost any large undertaking, there were political implications for the people involved in the operation of building a cathedral. The type of cathedrals built in England at a given time were thus representative of the political, social and economic situation there at the time of construction.
Cathedral is a church which contains a cathedra or a throne for a bishop. The origin cathedrals were the homes of Benedictine monks. They were usually built with some inexpensive and readily available materials. Roofs were usually made of oak, and walls were constructed with stones from a variety of English mines. Marble was a common material used in Italy. Unfortunately, there were no marble imported into England during the Gothic period. Enlish master masons used “Purbeck marble” instead. It can still be seen in the above images of Lincoln cathedral. It is the black stone used in the columns.
The master builders and craftsmen of the Gothic era learned how to build strong, tall edifices that were both light and decorative. There were some obstacles for these men such as wind pressure, balance, mass, abutment, thrust and how to support the sheer weight of these massive structures. Not much mathematical theory was used in the design, but lots of tracing and sketching instead.
The general shapes of the Gothic buildings are cross or crucifix. Buildings of the crucifix shape are called “cruciform” after the cross that Christ was hung on. The main entrance into the cathedral is usually through the west into the nave, the place where people may meet and see the church’s artwork and attend services. Each arm of the cruciform is called a transept. The chapter-house was used for the more formal gatherings of “chapter”, the groups of monks that lived in the cathedral and formed its governing body. All the cathedrals also have Lady Chapel, where the Virgin Mary was worshiped. It contained an altar to her and was usually at the eastern-most point of the cathedrals.
There are certain classic elements of English Gothic architecture which not only added aesthetically to the cathedrals, but were also great structural revolutions. Every small detail, even a small flower at the top of an arch stands for a reason, its own purpose. The pointed arch is one of the technical advances of the Gothic cathedral. This is the point at which the top of the columns meet. Having them meet at an angle rather than a curve added strength because of the more efficient way the weight carries by the columns was distributed. Thus, fewer columns would be needed to support a building of the same size or larger. Another technical advance is the vaults. They were the internal supports of the cathedral ceiling. They disperse across the ceiling the weight to be carried by the columns. The last technical advance was the flying buttress. They assisted in carrying the thrust of the vaults. These external designs are also another example of a functional addition to cathedral design that was also embellished upon for the purpose of beauty. With these advances, the whole church’s structure becomes lighter, airier, and taller, stretching cathedrals to the heavens.
However, toward the end of the 14th century, many Flemish artists went to France, and a Franco-Flemish style was created, showing an elegance and interest in minute detail; so wide was its diffusion that it came to be known as the International Style. At about this time panel painting, under the lead of Flanders and Italy, achieved preeminence over all other forms of painting. In the 15th century, individual painters, such as Stephan Lonchner, Martin Schonguaer, and Mathias Grunewald in Germany, mark the culmination of Gothic art. Others, such as Jean Fouquet in France and the Van Eycks in Flanders, point the way to the Renaissance, while retaining much of the Gothic spirit. In 15th-century Italy, where the Gothic style had never really taken root, the early Renaissance was already in full flower. Although the Gothic style didn’t last long in the history, but there are still many architectures and arts remain and are still visited by people even till now. Some of them became the world heritages, such as Amiens Cathedrals. It is actually one of the most important achievements from the Gothic era.
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001.
Gothic Architecture by Paul Crossley, Paul Frankl
AMIENS CATHEDRAL Web Site by Columbia University