Gothic architecture in the Czech Republic

Gothic architecture in the Czech Republic

Gothic architecture in the Czech Republic (Czech. Goticka Architectura v Cesku ) is one of the national areas in the European Gothic style of architecture, the period of development of Czech architecture, divided in three stages: early ( Premyslovska ) Gothic (early — late thirteenth century), high ( Luxembourg ) Gothic (XIII — 2nd half of XV century) and late ( Jagiellonian or Vladislavskaya ) Gothic (70-ies of the XV — beginning of XVI century). The most important Gothic buildings in the Czech Republic were built on the initiative of the Royal court and the most influential feudal families (Rosenberg, pernstejnem and others), as well as by the construction of the new Czech cities. Czech Gothic arose under the strong influence of the architecture of the Cistercian monastery buildings and the classical principles of French Gothic, gradually developing their own unique architectural style, incorporating features Saxonian and Danubian architecture of that period. In the process of development of Gothic architecture in the Czech Republic have developed special types of buildings, such as South Bohemian two-aisled churches. The most famous Czech architects are Gothic Peter Parler and Benedikt rejt.

The early Gothic

Historical context

Gothic as a trend of art originated in the medieval Czech Republic comparatively late. In the early thirteenth century, when Gothic architecture had already reached its heyday in France and Germany, the Czech Republic’s architecture is just getting started to penetrate the first French and German Gothic elements prevailed over the Romanesque architecture in the Czech Republic only to the end of the century. The first monuments of Gothic architecture in the Czech Republic belong to the 2nd quarter of the XIII century, i.e. by the end of the reign of king Premysl Otakar I (died in 1230) and the reign of his son Wenceslas I (1230-1253). The relatively late appearance of the Gothic architecture in the Czech Republic is due primarily to the absence in the XII—XIII centuries developed self-consciousness of the Czech cities, in difference, say, in France, where during this period the city became a collective customer and the inspiration of Gothic art (in particular, every town tried to outdo the others by the magnificence of its Gothic churches). In the Czech Republic this period the process of city planning is not over yet and social consciousness of citizens was in the process of formation. For this reason, the Czech Gothic emerged in the XIII century as a city of the world, and monastic art, as the monasteries at the time enjoyed the special protection of kings and great feudal lords in the Czech Republic (for example, lords of Rozmberk).

Collegiate Gothic

The first buildings of the transitional Romanesque-Gothic style in the Czech Republic were relatively few in number, they were the churches of the Cistercian, Franciscan, Dominican and Benedictine monasteries (in particular, Onezhskogo, teplá, Trebizskeho and Ternovskogo monasteries). The first monks of new Czech monasteries, as a rule, were invited from monasteries in Germany and Austria. Together with the monastic brethren came artel of masters, carrying with them the traditions of the Gothic architecture of Western Europe. In particular, the order of the Cistercians brought with them their own specific type of Gothic Church developed by the Cistercians in their homeland in Burgundy. The peculiarity of this type was the lack of towers and external reference systems, as in the Czech Republic this type of temple was even more simplified and adapted to local Romanesque traditions.

The first structures in the early Gothic style combined the traditional massive cubic features of Romanesque architecture with new architectural techniques of Western Europe, such as Gothic rib vaults on consoles and carved tracery rose window. The Romanesque galleries and a semicircular asiby lateral naves was combined with the frame structure of Gothic arches. Example of eclectic verhnelensky Romanesque features and a French-Burgundian early Gothic elements was erected late in the reign of king Wenceslas I (1230-1253) monastic Church of the assumption of the virgin Mary in Trebic (now known as St. Procopius Basilica). The connection in one of the architectural composition of kosmicheskogo arch at the end of the chorus, the blind arches and galleries give the impression of clutter interior, giving it a gloomy and massive, Romanesque splendor.

A colorful example of the early influence of German Gothic architecture in the Czech Republic is preserved early Gothic portal “the Gates of Heaven” Church of the assumption of the virgin Mary in the monastery of Cistercians Porta Coeli, founded by Queen Constance and her son king Wenceslas I in the village of Predklasteri near the South Moravian town of Tišnov (the Church was consecrated in 1239). The portal, apparently, was built by a crew of Saxon masters. Contrary to the principles of the ascetic Cistercian architecture “Heaven’s Gate” were decorated with two rows of sculptures of the apostles on the side slopes of the portal and a relief in the tympanum composition. Researchers have noted a striking similarity with multistage barely discerned by streichelt arches architectural structure of the portal and its sculptural decoration (including floral design and antique clothing sculptures of the apostles) with the “Golden Gate” in the Cathedral of Freiberg in Saxony (around 1230). The architectural concept of the portal “the Gate of Heaven” has imperfections present in such Gothic structures in Germany, which was built on the model of French Gothic creations. Here violated the basic idea of French Gothic portal — a form of connection of the statues with columns. In this case the statues are not in front of the columns and not even in recesses, as in Freiberg the portal, and just before the corners of ledges that does not correspond with the logic of the structure of the Gothic portal in France. As in many early Gothic structures in the portal “the Gate of Heaven” are widely used techniques still in Romanesque architecture, mainly refers to the appearance of the statues of the apostles.

“Heaven’s Gate” (lat. Porta Coeli ) — early Gothic portal of the Church of the assumption of the virgin Mary in the monastery of Porta Coeli Cistercian, an example of the influence of German Gothic (1239)

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