Real Finishes: The Spirit of Gothic

I have always adored Gothic architecture. From the high Gothic forms of the great medieval cathedrals to the vernacular examples of the Tudor, Jacobean and the Arts & Crafts periods. However, for many years it was a mystery to me as to why. It certainly lacks the regularity, the order of Renaissance architecture to which it at the same time seems indebted. During the Enlightenment a view would develop that Gothic was simply a derivative work, poor copies in a Dark Age from a brutish understanding of the ruined glories of Rome. Gothic became a term of unmitigated contempt.

Despite being indoctrinated in this history, my love for the Gothic never wavered. Why love an architecture at all? I recall from my childhood the 2nd commandment from Moses: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.” Yet here I am, myself a maker of graven images, also an adorer of the work of the hands of men. And I’ve determined the source of my adoration! A sympathetic act of communication across place and time from one human being to another. The Gothic in its essence is a highly humanistic architecture, I would contend the most human architecture ever conceive

via Real Finishes: The Spirit of Gothic.


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