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Medieval perception of space and place in the architecture of Gothic churches

Medieval perception of space and place in the architecture of Gothic churches

By John A.H. Lewis

South African Journal of Art History, vol. 22, no. 1 (2007)

Abstract: Our appreciation of medieval church and cathedral architecture is reliably enhanced when we find contemporary indications of perception and cognition involved in the making of such works. Modern assumptions about these operations in medieval architecture need to be checked against any textual or other sources which indicate the mentality of the time, albeit there is little that has explicit reference to architecture.

This article touches briefly on texts of theology, metaphysics, and science that show a perception of space mid place, and suggests the significance of this in the architecture. Conceptualization according with the intention for the building must have had a matrix of thought. Particular awareness of the material medium, and of the physical body of a church, would inevitably inform the process. Composition exercising great power of judgement must have had a certain kind of rationale. Such formation of place is illustrated in Gothic art and architecture.

Click here to read this article from the University of Pretoria

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