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The Medieval Church Cathedrals

            The Medieval Church Cathedrals and Medieval Man.
             Ideal geometric shapes in architecture have imparted a feeling of order and harmony since the Greeks.
             The Romans, using only geometry and the repeated use of the semicircular arch, later built and empire.
             The medieval flying buttress was born from the desire for building higher; and the pointed arch arose from the necessity of efficiently transferring the extra weight from above.
             Gothic was firs used as a term of derision by Renaissance critics who scorned the architectural style's lack of conformity to the standards of classic Greece and Rome. A closer look, however, reveals that the underpinnings of medieval architecture were firmly rooted in the ancient use of geometry and proportion. It is seen in the overall cruciform shape of a cathedral. Cruciform means the building is in the shape of the cross on which Christ was hung.
             Light was important to medieval theologians. It symbolized God's first creation. The use of stained glass windows transformed ordinary light into something divine. Gothic architecture developed out of a desire to build churches with larger windows so that God's light could shine throughout the building(www.newyorkcarver.com). Most medieval stained glass was not stained.
             Medieval man felt saints were exceptional people because they died for what they believed. Relics of saints were placed in a shrine; often in the form of an elaborate tomb embellished with gems and precious metals. The most notable saint being Thomas Becket. Becket's casket is decorated with scenes of martyrdom, against a blue enamel background, with details picked out in gold and the faces raised up in relief. The casket depicted scenes of his murder, burial and ascent into paradise. His soul is carried aloft by angels. A full-length portrait of him was included in the mosaic decoration of the cathedral of Monreale. Saints were also immortalized in the jamb figures located on either side of the main portal door.

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