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Art is a form of social consciousness,the spiritual part of human culture,a particular kind of practical and spiritual development of the world.In this regard,the art includes a group of varieties of human activity that refer to the specific and artistic reproduction of reality:painting,music,theater,and fiction.In the 13th-14th centuries the medieval art of Western and Central Europe,especially the church and civic architecture,reached its development.The word“gothic”comes from the East Germanic barbarian tribe that inflicted a mortal blow on the Roman Empire.During the Renaissance the medieval art was called gothic because it seemed rude and barbarous to people of that time.However,the Goths do not have any relation to it.
Every era gave rise to the art relevant to the current terms,close and understandable for people of the time.In medieval times,the power of the church was so great that even the kings had to reckon with it.The Gothic masters usually used the bright colors and ideas generated by people’s imagination.Moreover,the influence of a more rational perception of the world,the ideology of the progressive tendencies of the time was stronger in the Gothic masters’art than in the Romanesque.High vaults of cathedrals,stained glass windows,through which the light rays streamed,the solemn sound of the organ–all these elements of style impressed the human imagination and inspired the idea of the sanctity of the divine power.
Statues and pictorial images of saints were excessively elongated or severely truncated.At the time,artists did not know laws of perspective,and,therefore,the figures in their paintings appeared flat.Medieval masters often showed figures in unnatural postures and gestures in order to convey stronger religious feelings,such as the belief in God or repentance for sins.Indeed,many statues and pictorial images are strikingly expressive.Talented craftsmen managed to show what that they had seen in life.
In general,Gothic art reflects the deep and sharp contradictions of that era.It includes the vivid characteristic features of realism,a sense of humanity and religious rapture.In Gothic art the proportion of secular architecture increased.It became more diverse in purposes and richer in forms.In many cases,the unique art patterns of the Gothic style are created by medieval masters,whose names have not been preserved.
The church and religious character of culture of the medieval society was reflected in the style and purpose of works.For example,coins help to recreate the political map of the European Feudalism.Gold and silversmiths produced the unique church utensils decorated with filigree,semiprecious stones,and enamel.Besides,carved ivory was applied.All these different techniques were used to make plates for the altar,bowls for washing hands,candlesticks,processional crosses,and caskets.