Exeter Cathedral

Exeter Cathedral
Exeter Cathedral
Anonim

The Exeter Cathedral is a fine example of British Gothic architecture belonging to the Decorated Style. It should be remembered that in the British Isles Gothic art underwent a different evolution from that which occurred in other areas of the European continent.

Here in Gothic three phases are distinguished, the last one being Perpendicular Style. But today we are interested in talking about the two initials. The first is the Early English, a period of the 13th century in which there are aesthetic links clearly indebted to the preceding Romanesque art, since it is of buildings dominated by straight and horizontal lines, as well as by the robustness of geometric volumes.

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Exeter Cathedral Exterior

And from that it goes to the Decorated Style, which can also be called “curvilinear” or “ornate”. Which is characterized by its complex and abundant forms. Something that above all is due to the massive use of ribbed vaults with countless ribs and tiercerons. The truth is that this radical change in aesthetics between Early English and Decorated Style is very surprising, since there is no intermediate or evolutionary phase between the two. And if we compare it with what happened in an equivalent period of time in the rest of Europe, it is as if they had gone directly from a late Romanesque architecture to the large and ornate buildings of theFlaming Gothic.

This can be seen for example with the magnificent Salisbury Cathedral. A temple with its own personality and that in itself summarizes this curious evolution. And you can also discover it in the York Cathedrals or in Exeter that concerns us here.

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Interior of Exeter Cathedral

In the latter we can clearly see the trend towards verticality that inspired this new architecture, and in which the large windows were to take on supreme importance. Some windows that, in addition to serving to illuminate and generate atmospheres thanks to their stained glass windows, also became an ideal space for the decorative spirit of that style. Since those openings were populated by countless curved moldings. A forest of moldings that some have even come to relate to the ornamental forms of some manuscripts from English abbeys and monasteries.

And perhaps it can be thought that all these moldings also have an equivalent in the great stained glass windows of French Gothic architecture, such as those in the cathedrals of Chartres or of Bourges. But there are many differences. And one of them that is very evident is that while in the forms of French Gothic that was exported throughout almost all Europe, one of the favorite places for placement of these stained glass windows were the heads or apses of the churches, which always had curved shapes and were even hypertrophied due to the presenceof numerous chapels, ambulatories and ambulatories.

However, something emblematic of the English Gothic cathedrals, whatever their phase, is that they are flat, straight. And the vividness of the curve is given by that decorative repertoire of stained glass windows.

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