Architectural Guides

Gothic: Rayonnant, Venetian, Flamboyant


Today we are getting down to the nitty-gritty of various Gothic Styles. As you hopefully remember from our introduction, the geographic location is an important factor in the development of regional architectural styles. In this post we will feature the so called Rayonnant Gothic, Venetian Gothic, as well as Flamboyant Gothic. These are only 3 of many styles associated with Gothic and we will have a few more in next week’s post!

Rayonnant Gothic

Rayonnant Gothic is a French development within the Gothic period, dominating the years between 1240 and 1350. As architects concerned themselves less with the sculptural elements of their works, two-dimensional surfaces became their focus of attention. The most important characteristic of this style is its wide use of large-scale windows, and in particular rose windows. With more weight bearing down on the walls and support structures, lace-like traces were introduced to cover the facades and instil a sense of lightness. A more “technical” element is the development of glazed triforia. In Gothic cathedrals a triforium would be the passage between the arcades and the clerestory (a section of wall that contains windows above eye level). Before the new development these passageways used to be narrow and dark, but with technical advancement a more pleasing alternative was found.


Venetian Gothic

As can be guessed from its name, Venetian Gothic is a style which developed in the city of Venice between the 14th and 15th century. At the time the city controlled one of the most important trade routes in the world, namely between Europe and the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean). Due to this the city’s importance grew significantly and palaces were built to show off the new wealth. The Venetian style is characterized by a new intricacy and lightness within the context of Italian architecture. Through trade, Moorish as well as Byzantine elements entered the city which also manifested in the architectural style.

Venetian Gothic experienced a revival in the 19th century, predominantly in England and North America.


Flamboyant Gothic

Flamboyant Gothic is less pronounced than other Gothic styles and therefore harder to identify. It developed in France in the 14th century and is characterized by fluid lines and ogee arches in particular. It more commonly incorporates natural motifs such as plants and is generally richly embellished. Flamboyant Gothic did most likely not develop organically, but is believed to be an adaptation or interpretation of the English Decorated Period. England ruled northern France at the time, which is where the style originates. The style was further developed in Spain in the 15th century where it took on a more distinct shape.


Now, what do you think? Is there anything we have missed? Have you already learnt anything from this guide? Which is your favourite architectural style? Share your thoughts and pictures with us. Let’s stay in touch!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *