The Gothic style was popular in France and throughout northern Europe well into the sixteenth century.
Some of the later developments are seen already on the south porch of Chartres Cathedral, built around
1220. The architectural forms are deeper, creating more striking contrasts in light and dark. The sculpture
from this portal is much more realistic. The jamb statues represent highly individualized saints who seem
to stand free of the columns behind them. Some of the figures, like St. Theodore, stand on flat bases in a
pose that sways gently. Although this pose, called the Gothic sway, resembles contrapposto, the
movement is more S-shaped, with one hip thrust outward. Figures showing this type of pose are common
in Gothic manuscripts and smaller sculptures, like the Virgin and Child owned by the queen of France,
Jeanne d’Evreux.
Two examples of sculpture showing the Gothic sway:
St. Theodore from the South Porch of Chartres
Cathedra, c. 1230l, and the Madonna of Jeanne
d’Evreux, 1339.
The flexibility within the structural system of Gothic architecture led to many local variations. The
flamboyant style was particularly popular in northern France in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The
stonework in these churches, like Saint-Maclou in Rouen, is elaborate and delicately curved, like flickering
flames. In England, horizontal and vertical lines were used more often, as seen on Salisbury Cathedral. The
decorative stonework in these churches often masks the structure of the building.
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