c. 1140 – 1450
Western Europe

Influences: new vault and arch engineering developed in France, including flying buttresses

In the Middle Ages between the 12th and 15th centuries, new engineering feats and increased wealth in Western Europe helped evolve the Romanesque style to soaring heights found in Gothic architecture.

French Gothic, France

Originating in France in 1140, Gothic architecture continued into the 13th- and 14th-century as the style began to evolve. The Gothic style is characterized by curved stone ceilings with high interior sexpartite ribbed vaults, and tall pointed arches supported by columns, where considerable height was made possible utilizing the exterior support of flying buttresses.

Pointed roof gables and spires used decorative elements such as tracery, stone bars forming a pattern in windows or stone surfaces, pinnacles tops, crockets projecting from hips or along gabled ends, stained-glass imagery, round rose windows, and gargoyles for protection from evil spirits.

Valencian Gothic, Spain

Prevalent from the 13th to the 15th centuries, double curves and tracery elements characterize Valencian Gothic architecture, which is clearly influenced by French Flamboyant Gothic cathedrals—lacy “flame-like” stone tracery (ornamental open stonework), gargoyles (thought to protect from evil spirits), pinnacle moldings, and steeply or ogee (S-shaped) pointed arches—as do the craft of Mudéjar (Iberian Muslim) artisans, evident in the diamond and star-shaped patterns.

Catalan Gothic, Spain