It is undeniable that Gothic Architecture has a great influence on modern Architecture. One has only to look at Antoni Gaudi’s design of La Sagrada Familia in Spain or the intricate tracery of Culvert Bridge in Central Park by Calvert Vaux to appreciate the modern interpretation of Gothic Architecture. When on hears of Gothic one immediately conjures images of intricate dark designs, tall lean spires, vaulted ceilings, flamboyant arches and iconic ornamentations. Usually Gothic is attributed to somber, grave and shadowy lighting.
Thus it is a bit surprising that it was Gothic architecture that gave birth to the undeniably the most colorful element of dark cathedrals, the rose window – a circular window separated into stone segments and intricate tracery. This is a trademark of all Gothic cathedrals. Traditional Gothic Rose Windows are either intricate traceried circular windows with spokes radiating from a central rondel more colorful stained glass with elaborate pictures with holy depictions. The medium of the windows has changed in the modern adaptations.
Some modern rose windows are now are now made of plexiglass or other aggregate instead of pure glass to lessen the cost of production and also to strengthen the material. Painted canvasses are also used to recreate rose windows. In the olden times the beautiful glass colors are achieved by integrating the colors while the glass is being blown. In the modern version, translucent acrylics or other artificial methods are used to accomplish an effect similar to real rose window. However, the rose window has evolved beyond windows itself.
Different colored tiles and marbles are now used to imitate rose windows. And these are not used for windows primarily, but for decorating wall paneling and flooring. Not only did the medium change but the subject also changed. Originally, rose windows are used in cathedrals and depict scenes from the Bible. Nowadays, the subjects lean more on abstraction and eclectic symbolism. Whatever changes in the interpretation might have been, it is indisputable that the windows have thoroughly made their mark in Architecture.
Reference Frankl, Paul. (1962). Gothic Architecture. US: Yale University Press.
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