chapter  25
10 Pages

Historical Background

WithWhitney S. Stoddard

The study of French art of the period 1240 to 1500 depends on the definition of styles such as Rayonnant and Flamboyant, and the study also requires a general dating of these styles. The early Medieval Scholastics avoided chapter divisions and wrote continuous commentaries, but we are forced to emulate the thirteenth-century Scholastics and divide Medieval art into historical periods. In many studies, Rayonnant bore the connotation of academic, mannered, and decadent. More recently Rayonnant has been correctly interpreted as representing a positive style in all the arts — a style which is the natural, creative evolution from High Gothic. There is little agreement among scholars about when Rayonnant began. Frankl avoids the issue and lumps all architecture from 1194–1195 to 1300 under the heading of High Gothic. Both Rayonnant and Flamboyant possess an integrity and unity of point of view markedly different from Early and High Gothic.