Gothic Cathedrals

Beginning with the visionary ideas of Abbot Suger at Saint Denis (Paris, begun 1136), the Gothic Cathedral evolved. Saint Denis had special significance as the burial place of the kings of France. One key feature was an ambulatory around the altar so that pilgrims could visit the Church during a mass and not interrupt the Service. Another was a greater use of the palm in columns, an idea that had been used among the Cistercians. In the early decades of the 13th century, Villard de Honnecourt began noting some key features of churches such as Laon in his Sketchbook or Model Book, which became one of the new genres for sharing knowledge. This may help explain why the movement soon spread to Germany. The pilgrim routes, especially the route to Santiago da Compostella also played a role in dissemination of the new form: hence parallels between the cathedrals of Cologne and Burgos. Some early masterpieces include: Saint Denis Chartres Reims Amiens Laon Naumburg Marburg Strasbourg Magdeburg Cologne Burgos