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- Gothic Castle Architecture – Sweeping Designs For Mid-Medieval Times
- Castles as a place of fear and terror: Gothic Castles and the Gothic Novel
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- Erwin Panofsky’s Gothic Architecture and Scholasticism Essay
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Originally, gothic referred to a style of architecture that was popular in the middle of Medieval times mid middle-ages. It was a style of architecture which was famed for grand arched buildings with sweeping windows.
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In the s, gothic acquired a new meaning. These were a precursor for the horror stories of today. Gothic novels were written to develop feelings of fear and terror in a reader — and were set in evocative, crumbling old castles, abbeys and manors.
Hunyad Castle is an example of a spooky, gothic castle. Gothic is taken to mean an architectural style as well as an atmosphere — of spooky, fearful, desolate and ruined old places.
Before Gothic Architecture came along, castles of early Medieval times were cold, dark and damp. Building technology was rudimentary, which meant that most castles were encumbered with tiny windows and leaky roofs.
Gothic Castle Architecture – Sweeping Designs For Mid-Medieval Times
Worse still, the castles were often liable to attack — square towers could easily be toppled when attackers burrowed beneath just one of the corners. Gothic architecture was a mid-Medieval movement that revolutionised the way that buildings were built.
There are seven key characteristics of gothic architecture, and these include:. The gothic architecture movement originated in France, and spread across Europe.
Castles as a place of fear and terror: Gothic Castles and the Gothic Novel
It was reasonably influential in England and Wales, but gothic architecture really flourished within Eastern Europe. This new architectural style was most readily adopted by new cathedrals, churches and abbeys. However, some castles began to be built in the gothic fashion — Malbork Castle in Poland being the most obvious example. Evidently, these light, airy and sophisticated gothic designs were a vast step-up from the dark, dank old stone castles of yore.
Fundamentally, gothic architecture really marked a renaissance in castle design. It transformed castles from being fortresses with unpleasant living quarters, to majestic and impressive buildings with beautiful residential apartments for the Lord and his family.
Gothic design also marked an improvement in terms of castle defence. The skills to build more complex and sophisticated buildings — such as round towers — made castles harder to attack. Round towers had no corners for attackers to burrow beneath, and topple the castle!
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Back in , something spooky was brewing in English literature. Novelist Horace Walpole had written a new type of book altogether, creating a new genre of fiction. Gothic novels were written to elicit strong emotions — they set out to intrigue and to terrify readers in equal measure!
The novels were written to conjure up images of mysterious, decaying old buildings where dark secrets had laid hidden for hundreds of years. Often, these novels were set in the ruins of old castles.
Gothic writers loved the imagery of an old castle — a place of decayed grandeur, once full of life and vitality, but now seeped in decay. They described castles as being filled with memories of life gone by; and marked by death. This meant that castles were often used as a setting in gothic novels.
Italian Gothic architecture
Castles played an important role in the gothic novel. After all, the very first gothic tale was called The Castle of Otranto — set in a spooky castle filled with creaking doors, dark corners, ghostly footsteps, and hidden passageways. Gothic novels featured elements of mystery; of romance; of ghosts; of monsters Frankenstein started life as a gothic novel!
In very little time, gothic novels became incredibly popular, and formed the foundations of horror novels and horror stories, which are so popular today.
The public began to imagine castles to be deserted places of hauntings, murders, mystery and intrigue. People envisaged castles to be filled with secret passages, terrible old mysteries, and even to be filled with vampires and fearful creatures see more on Hunyad castle, just below!
Fundamentally, gothic fiction created an image of spooky, deserted and menacing old castles. Hunyad Castle variously known as Corvinesti Castle or Corvin Castle, after the family who used to own it is undoubtedly the spookiest of all gothic castles.
It boasts a huge, threatening bulk, with witches-hat style turrets studded along its side. Parts of the castle exterior are decorated with over-ornate gothic detail see the picture just below , and the innards are filled with vaulted-ceilings over vast, echoing halls.
The gothic looks of Hunyad Castle are a little bit too perfect! This castle has been ravaged by fire on numerous occasions, and restorations in the s and s over-exaggerated the gothic style on the outside of the building. This drove him to understandable madness, and subsequent stories of blood-sucking fun were inspired by his insanity.
In the s, the old tale goes, three prisoners from Turkey were promised their freedom if they could dig down far enough in the courtyard to find water. The prisoners dug desperately for fifteen years until, finally, they found water. Terribly, the legend goes, they it captors turned on their word.
The prisoners were never freed despite toiling to build the old castle well. Nowadays, tourists toss coins into the well to grant a wish- and to reward the work of the old prisoners. In common with the gothic castles featured in film and novels, Hunyad is famed for its ghosts.
Erwin Panofsky’s Gothic Architecture and Scholasticism Essay
An old photograph from the s depicts a shadowy figure floating between old columns, and the castle is a common spot for ghoul hunters, no-doubt encouraged by its fearsome appearance. Malbork Castle, in Poland, is undoubtedly the most impressive of all gothic castles.
The red-brick castle-complex is absolutely vast, spanning no less than 52 acres making it the largest castle in the world by area , and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The crimson exterior of the castle is unmistakably gothic in design. It boasts huge, ornate windows, alongside flying-buttress supports which prop-up some of the loftier details.
The entire interior is crammed with delicate vaulted ceilings, a true trademark of the gothic style.
The Knights Hall, restored in the s after damage during WWII, is a vast, decorative meeting place, adorned with beautiful, delicately painted, vaulting arches. Malbork is a wonder of the Medieval world which has miraculously survived until today. The complex — unrivalled by any other gothic castles — is an elaborate mixture of religious architecture, which includes a church, monastery and bell-tower, alongside dramatic fortifications and crenellated battlements.
The complex was built between and by the Teutonic Knights, an order of Catholic adherents involved in the crusades of the Middle Ages. Malbork was severely damaged in WWII but has been extensively restored today. Modern films and literature have imprinted some of the greatest gothic characters — such as the monster of Frankenstein and the legend of Dracula — firmly into the minds of the public.
Why not explore more by clicking those links and delving deeper into the site. My book, Exploring English Castles , is filled with stories and more than spectacular photos. Footer Enjoying Exploring Castles? Then Buy My Book!
Gothic architecture in italy pdf writer