Into The Light

As European man/woman stepped out of the shadows by barbarism and back into the light of knowledge, thanks in large part to the preservation of civilization by the scribes of the monastic era, a new stylistic form begins to emerge.  This new form, referred to somewhat sarcastically as Gothic, portends a much brighter future.  Heinrich Heine, the famed 19th century German poet, offers the following explanation as to a key ingredient now present in the mind of Europeans:  “When I recently stood with a friend before Amiens Cathedral…he asked me why it is that we can no longer build such heaps.  I answered, ‘Dear Alphonse, in those days men had convictions, whereas we moderns only have opinions, and something more is needed than an opinion to build a Gothic cathedral.”  (Heinrich Heine, Letters to August Lewald on the French Stage, published 1857).  Within the context of the development of the Gothic style, what are your thoughts on this form of expression (i.e. the Gothic) and on Heine’s comment to Alphonse?

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Amiens Cathedral

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Stained Glass Windows, Amiens Cathedral

Published by: roberttracyphd

Academic professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. I teach theory courses in Art and Architecture History. In addition, I also curate exhibitions on campus as well as in other venues nationally and internationally.

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