Gothic Revival Essay

1518 words - 7 pages

After centuries of war, regime changes, and revolutions, eighteenth century Europe was reestablishing national boundaries and was seeking national pride in each country. One way European nations built this pride was through the search for national styles of architecture. By the early nineteenth century, two attitudes about finding a national, historical style arose, pluralism and revivalism. Those with a pluralist view believed that it is appropriate to build contemporary cities using different styles depending what the building’s purpose was, for example, a Gothic style church and a Classical bank building. Revivalists, on the other hand, felt a nation should choose a shared style which ...view middle of the document...

(Alexander Gottleieb Baumgarten, Aestethica, Germany, 1750). Burke argued that beauty and sublime are mutually exclusive, but both of them can produce pleasure. He adds that sublime sensations can be perceived in all the senses, including horror, power, privation, vastness, infinity which includes: succession and uniformity; in the magnitude of a building, light and darkness, and in sound and loudness. In addition, he states that ugliness has the dual quality of fear and attraction, a power of affecting feelings of deep emotion, creating pleasurable experiences (Edmund Burke, On the Philosophical Origins of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful, England, 1759.). Immanuel Kant added a unified and comprehensive philosophical system on Aesthetics. Later, he used the term “designating the critique of taste” instead of “aesthetic,” in order to note the essential differences between judgments of taste, moral judgments, and scientific judgments (Immanuel Kant, Observations on the Feelings of the Beautiful and Sublime. Germany, 1764.).

In The Picturesque, Gilpin expanded more on the meaning of Picturesque based on his knowledge of landscape painting scenes, where texture and composition were the focus parts of a “correctly picturesque” scene. In here he argues that nature is inharmonious and rough, but is good in providing textures and colors. However, the scene needs “In nature it is the same; and your plain will just as much be improved in reality by breaking it.” (William Gilpin, M.A. Essays on Picturesque Beauty, England, 1768, pg. 29) Indicating that a “correctly picturesque” scene had to be arranged and perfected in composition, inclusively adding elements like trees, a ruin abbey or a castle to add “consequence”.

Gothic Revival as an architectural style

Gothic Revival was an architectonical movement of the 18th century that began in England as a nostalgic and conservatory practice, influenced by a new discipline of philosophy call Aesthetics. Earlier Gothic architecture had structural and technological advances like the pointed arch and the ribbed vault, with its flying and enclosed buttresses, that work more efficiently with the distribution of weight and which allowed buildings to reach greater heights. The use of local materials, stone, transparent walls and painted or stained glass were economic considerations taken. Another aspect this movement considered was asymmetry and careful integration into landscape. It was a picturesque tradition related to the Gothic novel; the heavily and colorful decorated interiors and exteriors; and greater and larger interiors, that gave more amplitude to the area and more interior capacity.
One of the first examples of Gothic Revival was built by Horace Walpole and is his Strawberry Hill, in Twickenham, London in 1750. It began as a small cottage in a five-acre extension and ended up as a new-medieval style castle in 46 acres which initiated a new trend, what James Wyatt refers to “a monastic...

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