Roma mural religious painting

Classified in History

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11th - 13th century

12th - 16th century


Latin cross floor plan

The top part of the cross contained a central semi-circular apse, where the altar was found. 

Latin cross floor plan. Gothic art gradually began to take on other subjects and roles. Technical innovations allowed the construction of higher and brighter buildings.

Vaults, walls and arches

Large stone vaults: semi-circular barrel vaults, later groin vault. 

Walls had to be very thick with only a few small spaces for windows. 

Huge pillars or columns inside and solid buttresses outside. The main entrance was usually on the west façade and symbolized the door to Heavenly Jerusalem.

Pointed arches that were lighter.

Ribbed vaulting. The weight of the roof did not rest directly on the walls, so large stained glass and rose windows were possible. Buttresses and flying buttresses, which supported the weight of the building.

Pinnacles on top of the buttresses that gave the church a sense of height.


Educational (to teach the faithful), Moralising (helping people to distinguish right from wrong) Decorative (to cover the cold, stone walls).

In Gothic churches, walls were replaced by large windows. This reduced the space for fresco paintings on the walls, and panel painting (altarpieces) became more common.


A very expressive style, very simple and had no depth or perspective. Figures were usually uniform in color, with thick outlines. People were always forward-facing and stylized, strongly anti-naturalistic and hieratic. Scenes from the bible and everyday life.

More natural and realistic bodies, faces and landscapes; the expression of emotions through gestures and faces; the realistic use of light and color.

Mostly religious, but scenes from everyday life, landscapes and cities were also portrayed.

Where do they paint?

Frescos (walls), panel paintings (altarpieces) and miniatures (books)

Innovations: Diptych, triptych… oil painting and tempera.

More common

Pantocrator and Theotokos


Most sculptures had a religious, symbolic and spiritual theme, but some were scenes of everyday life.

Gothic sculpture moved away from the hieratic and rigid Romanesque style and developed realistic features.


Adapt to the shapeand dimensions of the surface. The sculptures were rigid, lacked perspective, had religious themes and featured hieratic figures. Sculptural groups were organized hierarchically. Although most sculptures were attached to buildings. Religious carvings made of wood or miniatures were also done.

Freestanding sculptures with religious themes and portraits of kings and nobles became more common.

Faces expressed feelings

Drapery gave shape to the body.

Sculptures were not isolated figures. They appeared less rigid when interacting with other sculptures.

The S curve of the body gave the figures a sense of movement


As well, real or fantastical animals, this had a symbolic value, and plant motifs.

Sculptures continued to be used as decoration on façades and in cloisters, but altarpieces and sepulchers were also made. Real or fantastical animals such as gargoyles.

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