Show Summary Details

Page of

 Printed from Grove Art Online. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 12 November 2019

Gothic survivallocked

  • Howard Colvin


Term used to describe the survival of Gothic architecture in western Europe, a phenomenon that was more widespread and more prolonged than is generally recognized. Interested in the first manifestations of a new style rather than the last recurrences of an old one, architectural historians have tended to pay too little attention to the persistence of Gothic forms alongside those introduced in the Renaissance. What are often seen as isolated anachronisms prove on investigation to be so numerous and so widespread as to represent an alternative tradition that cannot be dismissed as of no significance. In any case, in northern Europe the assimilation of the Renaissance was a long-drawn-out process that was not fully accomplished until the latter part of the 17th century. Until then much new building, especially in rural areas, was basically medieval in form, though often with classical details added, such as doorways and altarpieces. Each country clung to some different feature from the past that had become too deeply embedded in its architectural consciousness (or sub-consciousness) to be easily dispensed with: in France it was the high-pitched roof sustained by an intricate mass of carpentry; in northern Germany the stepped gable; in England the battlemented parapet; in Scotland the fortified tower-house; in Spain the frenetic elaboration of decoration that, when classicized, became the ...

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.