Architecture and Spirituality

            Abbot Suger had a huge influence on the transition from Romanesque to Gothic style art and architecture, particularly in France. Suger’s vision was to transform a dark and dank church into one that reflected the beauty of God. He sought to incorporate brightness, height, and thrust management. Suger’s influence on church design and Gothic architecture also gave way to the modern idea of the cathedral. I find it so interesting that people of this time period sought to represent the divine through architecture. In today’s day and age it seems as though many buildings, including churches, are built according to the size of the owner’s budget. Hours, days, years, and centuries are not put into building one church anymore. However, if we look to the Gothic and Romanesque churches we can see that they are built specifically to reflect the presence and magnitude of the divine.

            We see the desire to reflect the nature of God in many, if not all, of the Gothic churches in France. Looking at the tall steeples and spires we can see that the people built those in order to encourage spirituality and to symbolize reaching higher toward God. I find it rather sad that when the Renaissance comes along, the Gothic style of art and architecture is later referred to as “barbaric”. Although the Renaissance does bring a different style of thinking and is very innovative, it is important to recognize the importance of the Gothic period. Flying buttresses and advances in the understanding of space and engineering were huge leaps in technology and the art created in stain glass windows and the cathedrals are some of the most beautiful works of art the world has known.

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