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date: 29 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the forms and functions of cathedrals, the principal churches of bishops within their dioceses. It outlines the ways in which the architecture and furnishings were designed to accommodate and enhance the unbroken round of worship that was their principal justification, and the means by which an ambience was created for worship that offered a foretaste of heaven for the faithful. The complex processes of design and construction of buildings that were the most sophisticated and structurally demanding of their age are touched upon. Changing architectural fashions are discussed, with emphasis on the ways in which the taste for greater structural lightness and decorative ingenuity in successive phases of the Gothic developed out of the more robustly conceived Romanesque architecture of the twelfth century. There is also consideration of the historiography of the study of the cathedrals.

Keywords: diocese, bishop, worship, architecture, furnishings, Romanesque, Gothic, design process

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