The term Gothic was first used by Giorgio Vasari. When first used, this term had a more derogatory meaning; It emerged as a style specific to the Goths who plundered Rome. The style, which was widely seen from the early 12th century to the mid-15th century, began to appear in painting at the beginning of the 13th century. Gothic paintings especially dealt with religious subjects. This style of frescoes, that is, wall paintings, became popular with Giotto di Bondone. In the Gothic style, in which a naturalistic attitude is reflected in the frescoes, depth and the unique facial expressions and gestures of the figures play an important role. Although Italy is a country that stands out in Gothic architecture, the influence of this architecture is also huge in France and Germany. The cathedral structure is the main work of Gothic architecture. The purpose of making these works is to symbolise the helplessness of man in the face of magnificent structures that reflect the greatness of God. Reims, Amiens and Notre Dame Cathedrals in France, Milan Cathedral in Italy, Batalha Monastery in Portugal, St. Vitrus Cathedral in Czechia are examples of this movement of architecture.
Giotto di Bondone
Italian painter and architect Giotto started his career by apprenticing under the painter Cimabue in Florence. Giotto mostly depicts religious scenes in his works. He painted frescoes of many churches and chapels. During this period, Giotto and his contemporaries abandoned the symbolic painting technique with normative attitudes and turned to a naturalist approach. One of the innovations that Giotto brought to the art of painting was placing the figures in his paintings in natural-looking places depicting the real world. Also, his addition of blue skies to his paintings instead of the traditional gilded background that stands out in Gothic painting is an important turning point in the history of art. Giotto created a revolution by introducing worldly life into religious themes. He has a quite significant place in the representation of Gothic art in this sense.
“PARIS” the important center of Gothic art
The city of Paris, distinguished by its signature landmarks such as the important museums; Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Musée Marmottan, Musée de l’Orangerie; and its symbolic architectures; The Eiffel Tower, the Gothic Royal Chapel of the Île de la Cite, the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysées, the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre. The city is also the subject of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Notre Dame Cathedral is a signature architectural landmark and the most well-known structure of Gothic architecture in Paris. This building is one of the reasons that Paris has been called as the “city of art” for centuries.
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, the symbol of the city, is a French Gothic church located on the banks of the Seine River. The construction of the church, which continued throughout the Gothic period, started in 1163 and was finished in 1345. Paris city planners wanted to demolish the building in the early 19th century, and Victor Hugo wrote the novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” to increase public interest. The novel initiated the campaign to save the cathedral and played an important role in maintaining and renovating the cathedral. Also, the Hunchback of Notre Dame turned into a musical; It is also integrated with classic songs such as Belle, Déchire, Tu Vas Me Détruire.
On 15 April 2019, a structural fire broke out in the roof space of Notre Dame de Paris. By the time the fire was extinguished, the cathedral’s spire had collapsed, most of its roof had been destroyed, and its upper walls were severely damaged. Most of the wood/metal roof and the spire of the cathedral was destroyed, with about one third of the roof remaining. The remnants of the roof and spire fell atop the stone vault underneath, which forms the ceiling of the cathedral’s interior.
Some artwork had been removed in preparation for the renovations, and most of the cathedral’s sacred relics were held in the adjoining sacristy, which the fire did not reach; all the cathedral’s relics survived. Some paintings, apparently only smoke-damaged, The three pipe organs were not significantly damaged. The largest of the cathedral’s bells, the bourdon was not damaged. The liturgical treasury of the cathedral and the “grands Mays” paintings were moved to safety.
Let’s remember the motto of this city: Fluctuat nec mergitur in Latin, which means “She is rocked (by the waves), but does not sink”.