Gothic architecture and art: Late Gothic Styles

Late Gothic Styles

In the 13th cent. the newly founded orders of Franciscans and Dominicans erected large hall churches of unassuming sobriety. The simplicity and functional character of these buildings, shown in such structures as the interior of Santa Maria Novella in Florence or the Church of the Jacobins in Toulouse, contrasts with the trend toward richness in ornamental elaboration apparent in later Gothic art. In the 14th and 15th cent., these tendencies culminated in intricate webs of tracery, as in the towers of the cathedrals at Ulm and Strasbourg in Germany and in the flamboyant style of the Church of Saint-Maclou in Rouen in France. In England the same exuberance of decoration is manifested in the Decorated style of Bristol and Ely cathedrals and the even more elaborate Perpendicular style, exemplified in the choir of the cathedral at Gloucester.

Building activity, however, was seriously affected by the economic crises of the 14th cent. and by the Black Death, and later Gothic constructions were far less ambitious in scope than those of the preceding period. However, the Gothic tradition never completely died out, and in the 19th cent. it enjoyed a revival in Europe and in the New World inspired chiefly by the romantic movement (see Gothic revival).

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