"Throughout the earlier half of this millennium, one of the grandest stories in European history was written primarily in stone,"" (Gothic Dreams 1). .
The Gothic age was a time of overwhelming change in the area of architecture. The origin of intellectual and religious life consumed definitively from monasteries to cities, making gothic art much more democratic. Art had to also serve a dictatic purpose during a time where few people could read or write (Norwich 114). .
Italian Renaissance writers originally used the word gothic as a derogatory term for all architects and artists in the middle ages, which were compared to the works of the barbarian Goths. Although now the Gothic Age is considered Europe's internationally acclaimed, it began as a regional phenomenon (Kleiner 488). The gothic style was first recognized in northern France around 1140 A.D., during the last major medieval period, immediately following the Romanesque period. Gothic art would dominate European architectural development for nearly four hundred years (Gothic Dreams 1). These advances that were made in the cathedrals were regarded not as distortions of the classical style, but as images of the City of God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, which they had built on earth. While bishops erected great new cathedrals reaching to the skies. The structural miracle was achieved as the result of man's ceaseless striving to build vertically (Norwich 115). .
"The high vault, functionally so unnecessary, was mainly responsible for the cathedral taking the particular form that they do,"" (Norwich 115). A new spirit had been leashed: less cloistered and introspective, more confident and optimistic. These churches .
Were symbols of civic pride, and for the first time since the very beginning of Christian art, an appreciation of nature. The growth of towns particularly in France, as they became more prosperous, wanted their own churches, churches that were different from the abbeys.