4/28 Gothic Architecture

What solution did Jack Builder invent that prevented the high upper walls of Kingsbridge cathedral from cracking?

Here are some of the images we’ll be looking at.


Model exam answer:

Overall, I think that Pillars of the Earth gives unique insight (though fictional) into the intersection in peoples lives of religion in medieval England. I think that we normally think of religion to be homogenous and linear, however, this book proves that theory wrong, especially with the different levels of piousness in the characters, especially in the clergy. Similarly, we saw in Pillars was the intersection of artistic ideas separate of our general tendency to qualify something as “gothic” or “Spanish.” The transition and evolution of ideas from many cultures within a generation was very evident. I saw this such intersection in the architecture of the Notre Dame de Chartes where the statues of the saints and angels by the entrance had a lifelike style with the flowing robes and pseudo-contrapasto stance of the greeks. 

Another important aspect of pillars was the way the religion was used in the Middle Ages for different means. Waleran used the. building of the cathedral to gain the archbishop position, Tom and then Jack wanted to build cathedrals for their own reasons, and Prior Philip wanted to rule over a grand priory. Christianity is supposed to be separate from materialism and want and yet it is used as justification for Philip to run for prior or jack to burn down the old church. Thomas Becket was exiled then killed for challenging King Henry’s abuse of the power of the church. This reveals that religious monuments can represent different things to different people, like the Cordoba Mosque and the Hagia Sophia, both of which are entrenched in controversy over which religious tradition they belong to and what they represent to which groups. Pillars of the earth takes that issue and instead of different religious traditions makes what defines the Cathedrals different selfish reasons for the characters who we watch so closely. 

Overall, the intersection of many multifaceted characters over the building of the Knightsbridge cathedral demonstrates how influential such a church can be over multiple generations and traditions. 

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