flamboyant style, the final development in French Gothic architecture that reached its height in the 15th cent. It is characterized chiefly by ornate tracery forms that, by their suggestion of flames, gave the style its name. Although these free-flowing patterns in lines of double curvature originated in the English Decorated Gothic (early 14th cent.), the French adopted them as the basis of a lavish style quite different from the English original. Flamboyant works exhibit pronounced freedom and exuberance, created by high, attenuated proportions, accumulated and elaborate traceries, and many crockets, pinnacles, and canopied niches. It is believed that the style first appeared in the west facade of the cathedral at Rouen (1370); its culmination is in the Church of St. Maclou, Rouen (1437–50). Other conspicuous examples are the Palais de Justice at Rouen, begun 1482; the west chapels of Amiens Cathedral; the northern spire of Chartres; and the south transept of the cathedral at Beauvais.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.