Sacred Sunday: 14th Century Cathedral Architecture

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari: Interior begun c. 1330 Photo Campo dei Frari, Venice

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari: Interior
begun c. 1330
Photo
Campo dei Frari, Venice

The great Franciscan church of the Frari was begun in about 1330, replacing the earlier church which stood on the site of the nave of the present one. Its construction took more than a century. The tall campanile, second only to that of San Marco, was completed in 1396. The presbytery, choir, and transepts must have been erected by the 1410s, and the nave was built last after the demolition of the previous church.

The high altar was dedicated in 1469, just after the installation of the ornate wooden choir stalls with their Gothic canopies embellished with perspective intarsia scenery the time that the stone pulpitum was completed by Pietro Lombardo in 1475, the Gothic style had already been superseded by an elegant early Renaissance classicism. Titian’s famous Assumption, executed in 1516-18 for the high altar, provides the final unifying element in this dramatic artistic ensemble. The completed church was consecrated in 1492.

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari: Choir of the friars begun c. 1330 Photo Campo dei Frari, Venice

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari: Choir of the friars
begun c. 1330
Photo
Campo dei Frari, Venice

The picture shows a view of the choir toward the entrance wall.

Palazzo Ariani: Façade 1350-1400 Photo Rio dell'Angelo Raffaele, Venice

Palazzo Ariani: Façade
1350-1400
Photo
Rio dell’Angelo Raffaele, Venice

The palace of the Ariani family was reconstructed during the second half of the 14th century in a unique style. The six-mullioned window, perfectly framed by the indented frieze, is not linked to any architectural sequence, while the section made up of three columns and two pillars and the parapets are part of the Venetian tradition, the innovation lies in the filling of the upper band above the windows. An uncommon feature is the wooden architrave at the corner, creating a low portico held up by columns which look out over the courtyard from which the external two-flight staircase departs.

The design is attributed to a stone-worker architect coming from the outside environment.

The picture shows the Gothic façade on Rio dell’Angelo Raffaele.

Palazzo Priuli all'Osmarin: Façade 1300-10 Photo Fondamenta de l'Osmarin, Venice

Palazzo Priuli all’Osmarin: Façade
1300-10
Photo
Fondamenta de l’Osmarin, Venice

The palace is a typical product of Venetian Gothic art, built at the beginning of the 14th century for the Priuli family which gave three doges and numerous cardinals, magistrates and generals to the city. It faces onto the Osmarin canal, but in the 15th century it was extended along the San Severo canal. The beautiful two-lancet corner windows were constructed during this time.

The façade facing onto the canal was completely covered with frescoes by Palma Vecchio, but unfortunately they have completely disappeared.

The picture shows the palace on Rio dell’Osmarin.

Palazzo Ariani: Façade (detail) 1350-1400 Photo Rio dell'Angelo Raffaele, Venice

Palazzo Ariani: Façade (detail)
1350-1400
Photo
Rio dell’Angelo Raffaele, Venice

Palazzo Dandolo: Façade 14th century Photo Riva dei Schiavoni, Venice

Palazzo Dandolo: Façade
14th century
Photo
Riva dei Schiavoni, Venice

The Palazzo Dandolo was built in the 14th century in Gothic style. In 1822 the palace was purchased by Giuseppe dal Niel, known as Danieli, who transformed it into what is today considered one of the most prestigious hotels in the city, the Hotel Danieli. The interior of the hotel was decorated in neo-medieval style by Tranquillo Orsi.

Palazzo della Fraternità dei Laici 1375-1434 Photo Piazza Grande, Arezzo

Palazzo della Fraternità dei Laici
1375-1434
Photo
Piazza Grande, Arezzo

The Fraternità was endowed in 1262 for the purposes of Christian charity. Its building was planned in 1363, the centenary year of the confraternity. Building work started in 1375 by two Florentine stone-workers, Niccolò di Francesco and Baldino di Cino.

In 1384 the construction came to a stop because of lack of funds. The building of the walls started again in 1434. Bernardo Rossellino continued the façade in a Renaissance style that fits admirably with the Gothic first floor. The gallery was added in 1460 by Giuliano and Algozzo from Settignano. The vaulted campanile, designed by Vasari, was built hundred years later.

The picture shows the façade of the Fraternità (right) and the Palazzo del Tribunale (left).

Interior view c. 1310 Photo Cathedral, Exeter

Interior view
c. 1310
Photo
Cathedral, Exeter

The present building was complete by about 1400, and has several notable features, including an early set of misericords, an astronomical clock and the longest uninterrupted vaulted ceiling in England.

During the 14th and 15th centuries Gothic architecture ceased to be international and split into definable regional styles. In England, the first Gothic style (Early English) was succeeded by Decorated and Perpendicular styles. The nave of Exeter Cathedral, shown here, exemplifies the English Decorated style, the piers formed of thick clusters of shafts, the vaulting-ribs multiplied so that eleven spring from one point.

Exterior view 14th century Photo Cathedral, Canterbury

Exterior view
14th century
Photo
Cathedral, Canterbury

Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, Kent, is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England. Founded in 597, the cathedral was completely rebuilt from 1070 to 1077. The east end was greatly enlarged at the beginning of the twelfth century, and largely rebuilt in the Gothic style following a fire in 1174, with significant eastward extensions to accommodate the flow of pilgrims visiting the shrine of Thomas Becket, the archbishop who was murdered in the cathedral in 1170.

The Norman nave and transepts survived until the late fourteenth century, when they were demolished to make way for the present structures. From the late fourteenth century the nave and transepts were rebuilt, on the Norman foundations in the Perpendicular style under the direction of the noted master mason Henry Yevele.

Exterior view 14th century Photo Cathedral, Canterbury

Exterior view
14th century
Photo
Cathedral, Canterbury

Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, Kent, is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England. Founded in 597, the cathedral was completely rebuilt from 1070 to 1077. The east end was greatly enlarged at the beginning of the twelfth century, and largely rebuilt in the Gothic style following a fire in 1174, with significant eastward extensions to accommodate the flow of pilgrims visiting the shrine of Thomas Becket, the archbishop who was murdered in the cathedral in 1170.

The Norman nave and transepts survived until the late fourteenth century, when they were demolished to make way for the present structures. From the late fourteenth century the nave and transepts were rebuilt, on the Norman foundations in the Perpendicular style under the direction of the noted master mason Henry Yevele.

Next week, a two-part series begins – 15th Century Architecture.

Crash

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Sacred Sunday: 14th Century Cathedral Architecture

      • I have want to go to Great Britain and Italy where these beautiful cathedrals are. This is an inspirational article. I have perused your other topics and will read some of your other articles. It looks like you have a lot of good info and great pictures.

        • Thank you again! I’m on an artistic and historical committee that restores, preserves and documents monasteries and churches throughout Europe. I’ve been a part of this drive since my days traveling Europe while earning my grad and post grad in art. The articles give some of idea of a few destinations, but I’d be happy to point out locations in France, the UK, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Austria and Spain, among others. The world is your oyster! =)

          • Wow you’ve been a lot of places. I have not traveled hardly at all, but keep thinking life is passing me by and I really want to see some of this world. My top two are the UK and Italy. Yes, if you have any ideas about either of these, I’d really appreciate it. Italy seems prettier in many ways and the climate is better, but Great Britain has fascinated me for years. There are so many people from the UK that have literally been formative in my life and I have admired like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. I have listened to traditional Scottish music, we love so much of the history and the people that have really shaped our culture here. For all of those reasons, the UK would in many ways be my first choice.

            • I travel a lot, both for cycling & photography. Plus, even though I’m on sabbatical from my art director’s position, I still find time to be involved in critical decisions in ad campaigns.

              Traveling is great once you nail down the logistics of it all. There’s always lots to see, do and experience in Europe in general and the UK & Italy in particular.

              Hope you can start your trip soon! My pleasure to help! There’s a link to my email on my about.com page.

              • Thanks so much. I will probably e-mail you asking for tips if we do indeed make a trip like I am hoping late summer or early fall. If we go to the UK it will be in late August due to airfares and trying to get there before it gets too cold, but Italy it would be later. Do you think for a first-timer overseas it would be better to go to an English-speaking country? I know Italians know English, but not as easy to understand I am afraid.

                • Will do!!

                  As far as languages, you’ve got plenty of time to learn some Italian, even if it’s just some phrases. Italian is pretty easy being one of the romantic languages like French. Plus, it’s based on Latin and Greek much like English. Take your pick. Base your trip on weather, events, travel season and economics. Also, do not dress ‘like an American’ as these are security-beware times. Blend in with the locals.

Comments are closed.