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Main Characteristics of Gothic Sculpture

Main Characteristics of Gothic Sculpture

Gothic sculpture has a unique set of characteristics that can only be identified after a keen evaluation of the art itself. To begin with the sculpture was inspired by the sensitive forms which could easily be comprehended in real life. Commonly used in the ancient Cathedrals, the imagery illustrations in the Gothic sculptures could convey direct meaning to the congregation and other members of the society (Dearborn 695). The simplicity of understanding such works of art was driven by the need to evolve art to the then real life situations. Furthermore, an illustration to what Christianity taught was necessary through rather simplified works of art.

In Gothic art, the human characters in the sculptures represented attitudes and emotions in a human perspective. The emotions and natural features attracted the viewers towards understanding the intention behind the art work (Deknatel 264). These sculptures were created out of reality and purely intended to deliver specific messages and concerns within the cathedrals. In addition, Gothic sculptures, for instance that of the Virgin Mary, abandoned verticality, symmetry and hierarchic positions. Instead, mannered gestures were coupled with realistic movement to bring the real picture of what is intended message in the art. Given that the move was made towards reality, it was a drive by the religious groups to make their messages better understood through the carvings and drawings made in the works of art.

The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is resembles the Gothic Art. Specially designed by Bartholdi, the monumental sculpture is located in the Liberty Island in the Upper New York Bay. The 305 feet tall art was presented as a gift to the United States in a bid to appreciate the democratic environment in the U.S. From a critical analysis, there are many features of Lady Liberty that emulate the features of Gothic Sculptures, despite the fact that Bartholdi adopted a neoclassical sculpturing approach when producing the magnificent work of art.

Comparison of Statue of Liberty to Gothic Sculpture

The Statue of Liberty is based entirely on symbolism. It is not easy to deduce meaning from the work of art without an intensive investigation into the events leading to its production. This was not the case with Gothic art, which expressed more humanistic features easily through expressions. In the case of the Statue, most of the implied messages are political and can only be understood upon getting a clear picture of the history of the United States and France (Harvard University Library Open Collections Program 1). For example, burning torch held by the lady in the statue is symbolic of the idea that light is necessary in the fight for freedom. Given that the United States had struggled for independence and embraced democracy earlier than any country in the West, it was important to uphold the same spirit of enlightenment.

The Statue of Liberty, however, expresses slight similarities with the Gothic sculptures. The facial expressions seem to follow a similar trend. Despite the fact that the statue’s artist used his mother’s face in this case, the moods can easily be understood. There is a serene mood in the face of Lady Liberty. This is indicative of the relief one earns after a long fight for freedom and independence. Gothic art like those of the Virgin Mary in the ancient Cathedrals also expressed mood in simple perspectives.



Works Cited

Dearborn, Fitzroy. “The Encyclopedia of Sculpture” vol. 17. London. 2004. Web. February 5, 2017, https://webspace.yale.edu/jung/documents/JungGOTHICSCULPTURE.pdf

Deknatel, Frederick B. “The Thirteenth Century Gothic Sculpture of the Cathedrals of Burgos and Leon.” The Art Bulletin, vol. 17, no. 3, 1935, pp. 243–389. www.jstor.org/stable/3045586

Harvard University Library Open Collections Program. The Statue of Liberty. Harvard: Harvard University. 2010. Web. February 5, 2017. http://ocp.hul.harvard.edu/immigration/statueofliberty.html

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