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Naturally the builders of Chartres or Canterbury had never heard the word.
They may have thought of themselves as moderns (as compared with the builders of St Trophime or Durham), but they would have been surprised to know that four centuries later, men of culture looking for a word to describe their style of Christian art would choose one with the same connotations that the word Vandal has for us today.
(But see also German Gothic sculpture, as well as the differing styles of English Gothic sculpture.)Those cathedrals are among man's most extraordinary and moving creations, whether one sees them from afar, rearing themselves proudly above the city that surrounds them and breaking upwards into spires and pinnacles, whether one examines them at close quarters, noting the restless infinity of sculptural detail and fretted texture, or whether one enters them to find oneself in a complex architectural system whose soaring pillars and ribbed vaults arrest the eye so effectively that the walls are hardly noticeable and the effect is rather that of a formalized forest than of an enclosed room.
Its essence lies in its power to suggest, not the final perfection of classic reason, like a Greek temple, but a dynamic search for the unattainable.
Instead of limiting itself to humanity it could range playfully and capriciously across the whole of creation, picking out details, a monstrous form here, a charming turn of the wrist there.
Greece had developed in the direction of greater breadth and simplicity: Gothic developed in the direction of complexity and preciousness, and gaily mingled the grotesque with the elegant.
Fans of Bughead were left in absolute turmoil at the winter finale of Riverdale series two after Betty Cooper and Archie Andrews shared a spontaneous and - we're gonna go right out and say it - widely unpopular kiss.
While most people were too busy trying to figure out if the Black Hood reveal was legit or not, others were mourning the seeming demise of Bughead and that totally unexpected Barchie ~interaction~.
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If the word Gothic has any permanent meaning it must be applicable not only to a cathedral, but to a statue or a relief.