Catholic Dictionary




Originally the style of architecture associated with the Goths; it eventually spread throughout Europe from about 1200 to 1500. It is characterized by pointed arches, ribbed vaulting, flying buttresses, and other features previously unknown in Church building. Italians of the Renaissance coined the term as a mark of contempt for the extreme of barbarism. It might be called "Catholic style" because it expressed the new civilization of the Franks, Normans, Anglo-Saxons, and Teutonic people who had become Christians after struggling with paganism. And to this day it remains the highest artistic achievement of these civilizations.