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Video transcript

[Music] we're in Salisbury Cathedral in South West England this is an early gothic Church in England we divide the Gothic into three periods the early gothic the decorated gothic and perpendicular and so here we're at an early moment in the development of the Gothic style here in England in France you could imagine the great Cathedral of all myeong being built at the same time but this is so clearly not a French Cathedral this is a typical English Cathedral in its layout and in its scale it's enormous but it doesn't reach the heights of the French cathedrals during the high Gothic period that's not to say that this is a low ceiling the vault towers above us and so it really is just lower in comparison and one of the ways that the architect emphasized that horizontality is by the use of a stone that we call Purbeck marble and it's this dark grayish brown color and it's used to articulate some of the horizontal members that draw our eye down you can see that especially if you look at the interior elevation above the nave arcade in the second level which we call the gallery we see typical gothic decorative motifs like Quattro foils and pointed arches but in per Beck we see these bundled columns that have octets and energy to them and they emphasize the linear it's as if the entire church is outlined with slender columnar forms well we have these slender columns in the nave that are surrounded by smaller columns that are slightly detached but then the pointed arch itself is so deep with these rolled molding that emphasizes the depth of the wall but we also see it in the dimensionality of the wide gallery and even above that in the depth of the clerestory where there's a narrow passage between the exterior glass and the interior space of the nave this was all once brightly painted so what we're looking at is rolls of stone each roll would have been picked out in different colors and so it would have even seemed more linear I think but we should start perhaps by just noting that we have a typical Datuk elevation a nave arcade with pointed arches and above that that gallery and above that a clear story and then typical ribbed for part rain vaults Salsbury cathedral was built very quickly the main part of the church was built within 38 years which means there's a continuity a kind of consistency the cloister was added later and then the tower was raised higher and the spire was added and because that power in spire is so heavy the architects added strainer arches to help support that weight not only are English cathedrals known for these very long plans in fact so long that they often have at the East End an additional choir known as a retro choir and have a second transit which allows for additional chapels which are often not found along the nave one of the other ways that the architect emphasized the horizontal as opposed to the verticals that we don't have Colin Nets that rise from the floor to articulate the ribbed grind fault instead the ribs of the vault spring from these Horrible's but what's really fun is right at the base of each of those is a sculpted head that emphasizes this interest in the decorative that is such a characteristic of English cathedral architecture and I'm looking to at the gallery level where the two pointed arches meet and these decorative ball flowers like all English churches this one has gone through substantial changes the choir screen that separated the church and to the laypeople in the West End of the church from the most sacred part the East End and we're lucky that a piece of that choir screen survives and it's beautifully decorated with painted angels and the spandrels and gabled niches that would have once held statues and some wonderful examples of ball flowers you would mention that this church was originally painted in different colors to articulate the architecture but in the vaults high above us above the choir in the eastern section of the church there were rondelle's of paintings that historians believe reflected the liturgy that was performed in the church below those original gothic paintings were covered over were whitewashed but we know that they included images of prophets and a symbol of angels of price in mad this church is filled with so much 19th century stained glass but originally most of the stained glass was griz I that is tones of gray and we can see some of that in the south transept but much of the victorian stained glass does include biblical stories and figures and there are two especially beautiful windows by the great Victorian artist Edward burne-jones these are two Lancet windows that are occupied mostly by these interlacing vines and leaves but the four angels are brilliantly colored one is green with its incredibly elaborate yellow wings we have a brilliant blue angel and both of those angels hold staffs on the right we have two angels that hold harps and are both in brilliant red it's lovely to see these burne-jones windows here at Salisbury Cathedral we've walked outside the outside is so different from French Gothic cathedrals at the same period and ami Anne begun the same year as this church you have a massive porch with deep portals that draw you in and here we see three doorways and I'm really struck by how modestly scaled those doorways are and here the West front is larger than the church behind it now the figurative sculpture that we're seeing today in the niches the vast majority of it is modern it's from the 19th century and we're not even sure how much sculpture was originally here in the 13th century when the church was built if you look closely at the screen of figures just above the central doorway there are small openings and there's a passageway behind this that we believe was used for people to sing from during liturgical festivals that took place outside the West front of the church the conceit would be that the sculpted figures that we see were actually singing to the crowd below Salisbury Cathedral this early English Gothic style church will have an enormous impact on buildings that are constructed later as the English Gothic style develops and looking at the church centered in this large closed the church's grounds it's impossible not to think of the early 19th century painter John Constable and his multiple paintings of this church well the church does sit in a field and rises steeply up from that and constable gives us that impression so well and the spire that reaches up toward the heavens and the sense of man's yearning for the divine is very much present [Music]