Gothic Art, a Medieval Art Movement, emerged when Europe was going through a radical transition from the 'Dark Ages' to the 'Middle Ages.' The continent was innovating new style and culture with each passing era. Gothic Art spanned from 1120 AD to 1515 AD. Owing to its prolific yet unique style through several years, Gothic Art & Architecture is distinguished into three ages, namely Early, High, and Late Gothic.
The transition of Gothic Art occurred in England & France (around 1200), in Germany (around 1220), and in Italy (around 1300). In this period, sculpture, frescos, panel paintings, manuscript illumination, and stained glass painting were the key art forms, carrying both Christian as well as secular essence. Frescos were the chief medium for portraying religious sentiments, especially in Southern Europe. Some of the frescos however, also depicted the plutocratic society, like the kings and princes. Metalwork, tapestries, and embroidered vestments were other platform for religious depiction. Stained Glass was more popular in Northern Europe. Early Gothic Art set foot in France in around 1120-50 AD with Gothic Architecture and continued up to 1200 AD.
During the Early Gothic Period, Christianity was evolving, thereby embarking upon a new chapter in history. This change was evident in Early Gothic Art through huge, outstanding Gothic Cathedrals, constructed all across Europe, with 1140 being the outset of Early Gothic Architecture and Sculpture on the walls of the "Basilica of St. Denis," Paris. The "Chartres Cathedral" of Paris followed next in 1145. The other most famous cathedrals among these were the ones across Northern France in the cities of "Reims," and "Amiens." Early Gothic Architecture followed the style of light & tall buildings, pointed arch, flying buttress, and glazed windows.
The portrayal of religious stories occupied prime place in Gothic Art. The 'Typological' sculptures & paintings in cathedrals portrayed the transformation in Christianity as the fables of the "Old and the New Testament." The paintings also revolutionized from the iconic and boorish Romanesque & Byzantine styles towards more of 'Naturalism.' The depiction of Virgin Mary in the cathedrals not as an idyllic figure, but as a loving and caring mother such as in the "Life of the Virgin," concretely foretell the 'Naturalist' tilt.
Early Gothic Paintings were quite expressive in the 'natural' and the 'animated' parlance. Kings, such as Alexander the Great, King David, and Charlemagne, were the most loved subjects. Early Gothic Sculpture carried Roman and Greek essence vis-à-vis dressing, pose and facial expression. The sculptures inherited the Roman spatial arrangement, well in consonance with 'Naturalism.' The sculptures on the "Western (Royal) Portal," of Chartres Cathedral are a perfect example of Early Gothic Sculpture.
After the period of 200 years, Gothic Art graduated to Renaissance in Europe, thereby ending Gothic Art, between the timeline of Italian and Northern Renaissance. Many Renaissance artists, like Robert Campin and Jan van Eyck, however, still carried the influence of Gothic Art. Their oil paintings depicted 'Naturalism' and 'Realism' coupled with 'Symbolism.' Therefore, Gothic Art was a pioneer of change and innovation, as it emancipated itself from the iconic Byzantine Art and adopted a natural style. Many art historians and art lovers continue to research Early Gothic Art & Architecture, as they learn its innovation and creativity.