IMC 2005: Sessions

Session 1102: Ages of Gothic

Wednesday 13 July 2005, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Vibeke Olson, Department of Art & Theatre, University of North Carolina, Wilmington
Paper 1102-a'The Frame of the Universe': Medieval Architecture and the Pentagon
(Language: English)
Nigel L. Hiscock, School of Architecture, Oxford Brookes University
Index terms: Architecture - Religious, Art History - General, Ecclesiastical History, Philosophy
Paper 1102-bPossible 'Causes' of Gothic: A Trial Encounter
(Language: English)
John James, University of New South Wales, Sydney
Index terms: Architecture - Religious, Art History - Sculpture, Local History, Technology
Paper 1102-cFrom Abbot Walon (c. 1240-1271) to Abbot Guy (1492-1531): Gothic Wall Painting and Patronage at Saint-Martin-aux-Bois
(Language: English)
Chris Henige, Department of Art, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Index terms: Art History - Painting, Monasticism

Abstract -a:
Grosseteste’s allusion to the universe brings to mind the geometric structure associated with it by Christian Platonists, namely the dodecahedron, which was composed of the pentagon.
Although its construction is far from straightforward, the pentagon was commonly employed in medieval architecture and occurs in the thirteenth-century portfolio of Villard de Honnecourt. Since Vitruvius tells us that architecture consists of ‘that which signifies and that which is signified’, this paper will attempt to suggest how the pentagon was understood as a signifier in medieval architecture, art and popular culture by examining its properties both mathematically and metaphysically, as attested by medieval source material.
Abstract -b:
In my 2003 talk at Leeds I was unwilling at short notice to answer the question ‘What were the causes of Gothic?’ I now wish to set out the conclusions I have drawn over 35 years of reasearch and to discuss the alternatives – political, episcopal, penitential, geographic, stone, money, outside inspiration, construction costs etc.
The impetus for change emerging from a traditional society always fills us with wonder. That in one specific region people were able to break free of convention and recreate the entire form of their architecture is remarkable, while providing major design motifs for all the other arts. The changes are first discernable just before 1100 and complete before 1250.
Abstract -c:
awaiting third paper