A (Gothic) Confession, with a Splash of Color

I remember when I suffered through a wannabe-goth phase in middle school.  Needless to say, reminiscing on how desperate I was to purchase a black Nightmare Before Christmas hoodie to stomp ever-so-rebelliously through my El Paso, Texas, middle school’s halls brings slight chills to my spine, as well as a few chuckles now and then.

The reason for this embarrassing anecdote? When I realized historians consider the Basilica of St. Denis near Paris, France, the first true Gothic structure, I couldn’t help but ponder my own experience with the Gothic subculture that would probably be referred to as the medieval period of my personal history.

The basilica's front entrance...of course, it was under construction.

The basilica’s front entrance…of course, it was under construction.

If I learned anything in art history, it would be that Gothic architecture possesses a grand tympanum (that half-moon shaped structure above the main entrance full of religious figures), vaulted ceilings, pointed arches, flying buttresses, the forever-funny sounding filigree, and yes, stained glass to vitalize the dark interior.  Actually, I remember learning that stained glass symbolized the immaculate conception…the sun’s light hitting the stained glass resulted in beautiful colors dancing within the seemingly impenetrable basilica, similar to the Virgin Mary’s immaculate nature and ability to create beautiful light for the world by giving birth to Jesus.

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A pointed arch, ribbed vault, stained glass and rose window in one picture? Talk about Gothic.

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The stunning rose window, one of the many beautiful aspects of the Basilica of St. Denis.

Light penetrates the church ever-so-sweetly.

Light penetrates the church ever-so-sweetly.

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Since several years have flown by since my middle school years, I’ve (thankfully) grown out of my wannabe-goth phase. Not that anything’s wrong with being Gothic; it’s just not for me. I embrace color, and enjoy mainstream music every now and then. So, when I visited St. Denis a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but feel somewhat like stained glass thanks to the multicolored scarf I wore that day.  Though much less luminous and impressive than the stained glass and massive rose window, it elevated me to an evanescent sensation.  And that, I am thankful for.

Trying to strike a pose within a sacred place proves to be quite interesting, especially to passerby.

Trying to strike a pose within a sacred place proves to be quite interesting, especially to passerby.

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Scarf – Primark

Coat – Zara

Gloves – H&M

Have a blessed week!

Yours truly (and recently confessed),

Jonathan

16 thoughts on “A (Gothic) Confession, with a Splash of Color

  1. thegreatzambini says:

    That is so true! The point of Gothic architecture (besides, of course, being ostentatious) was the open spaces and high windows that gave much more light than the dark castles and depressing thoughts the midevil era was full of. Perhaps the Gothic trend is modeled more closely after the Neo-Gothic trend in Britain in 17 or 1800`s, my history is a little fuzzy on the actual timing. But, as I remember, it was very popular to have the gentry`s ladies reading books full of dark mausoleums for homes, and I believe that the architecture of that second Gothic period mirrored that. Gargoyles, dark paneling, and darkness seemed to abound then, so I think that is the connection to now.

    • jonathanochart says:

      Wow, you know your art history! I’m not too familiar with the various Gothic periods, my high school teacher didn’t delve too deeply into the various movements. Thanks for sharing all your insightful knowledge – I feel much more enlightened now (;

    • jonathanochart says:

      It’s mind-blowing when you realize people made these structures without the modern technology we use today! Thank you for stopping by and commenting (:

  2. Kimberly says:

    The photography! Words! (And style!). Love it all – you have me missing Paris and pining for Europe. It’s a pity NJ has nothing of equal cultural or architectural beauty. x

    • jonathanochart says:

      Paris is quite the place! I’m sure there’s something in NJ – and, if not, at least it’s super close to NY and PA (: That’s much more than being stuck in central Texas! Thanks for stopping by (;

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