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date: 09 April 2020


  • Peter Kidson,
  • Michael T. Davis,
  • Paul Crossley,
  • Dany Sandron,
  • Kathryn Morrison,
  • Andreas Bräm,
  • Pamela Z. Blum,
  • V. Sekules,
  • Phillip Lindley,
  • Ulrich Henze,
  • Joan A. Holladay,
  • G. Kreytenberg,
  • Guido Tigler,
  • R. Grandi,
  • Anna Maria D’Achille,
  • Francesco Aceto,
  • J. Steyaert,
  • Pedro Dias,
  • Jan Svanberg,
  • Angela Franco Mata,
  • Peta Evelyn,
  • Peter Tångeberg,
  • Carola Hicks,
  • Marian Campbell,
  • Elisabeth Taburet-Delahaye,
  • A. M. Koldeweij,
  • G. Reinheckel,
  • Judit Kolba,
  • Lennart Karlsson,
  • Barbara Drake Boehm,
  • Danielle Gaborit-Chopin,
  • Virginia Chieffo Raguin,
  • Yvette Vanden Bemden,
  • Nigel J. Morgan,
  • Daniel Kletke,
  • Erhard Drachenberg
  •  and Scot McKendrick


Term used to denote, since the 15th century, the architecture and, from the 19th, all the visual arts of Europe during a period extending by convention from about 1120 to 1400 in central Italy, and until the late 15th century and even well into the 16th in northern Europe and the Iberian Peninsula. The Early Gothic style overlapped chronologically with Romanesque and flourished after the onset of Renaissance art in Italy and elsewhere. Scholarly preoccupations with the nature of the Gothic style (see §I below) have been centred almost exclusively on architecture, and the term has never been satisfactory for the figural arts, especially painting (see §IV below); but the 19th-century tradition of classification has proved so enduring that it continues to be used for figural styles.

The people who produced what has since come to be known as Gothic art needed no name to distinguish what they were doing from other styles. They were aware of differences of appearance between the churches they built and buildings of earlier periods, but if these had any significance for them, it was mainly iconographical. As the defining characteristics of Gothic are always more conspicuous in ecclesiastical than in secular art, they no doubt considered its primary function to be in the service of the Church. Otherwise they seem to have been unaware that their arts had a history. It needed the comprehensive changes of taste associated with the Renaissance to introduce the notion of Gothic into the vocabulary of art. During the 15th century educated Italians such as ...

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Lexikon der Kunst: Architektur, bildende Kunst, angewandte Kunst, Industrieformgestaltung, Kunsttheorie (Leipzig, 1968–)
O. Schmitt and others, eds: Reallexikon zur deutschen Kunstgeschichte (Stuttgart, Metzler and Munich, 1937–)