Gothic Art and “Stained Glass” Art Project

One of the things that I have decided this New Year is to learn more about the different styles of art. Ive done this by making a list of the different eras of art I found online and I am going down the list on order researching the art styles of each era, who the famous artists of that era were and examples of the kind of art the produced. I also have decided to do a little mini art project at the end of my research to experience each style of art either in the traditional way or in my own style. I decided to start my research in the MedievalAge.

othic Art was a style of art that predominated from 1150AD to 1440AD. The art during this time period was all devoted to religious purposes because Christianity had such a huge impact on the time period. A lot of the art is still around today in the form of churches and stained glass and even written manuscripts called “illuminated manuscripts”. The majority of famous artists in this time wee sculptor and architects however.

This sculpture, sculpted right into the arch of a building is a classic example of Gothic Art by Benedetto Antelami. The subject is religious and it is carved into the classic arched structures of Gothic architecture.


Plans for Gothic architecture

These plans for Gothic architecture show the use of arches at windows and doors, steep gables and the stone workings that were so popular at the time. Here are some examples of churches built during the Gothic era that are still standing:

Architecture was not the only important style of art that the Gothic era focused on. Another very beautiful thing that came out of the Gothic era was stained glass windows. Most were depictions of history or religious stories from the Bible and some were just patterns and tessellations, but all works of art that are still on view today.

This is “The Life of Joseph Window” in Bourges Cathedral done in the 13th century. Notice the religious nature of the work. Most art pieces in this time had to do with stories from the Bible, religious figures, saints or martyrs.

Another kind of artwork that was very popular at the time was called illuminated manuscripts. Many people have seen exaples of these although they did not realize it at the time. I know I did. The best way I can think of to describe this art form is… Remember, those old fairy tale books where the first letter was alway big and ornate and the pictures were beautiful and there were little drawings and illustrations throughout the entire book? That would be a prime example of an illuminated manuscript. In the Gothic era the printing press had not yet been invented so books were rare things since they had to be hand copied and drawn. Books were a work of art at this time and when you see them you’ll see why.

This is an excellent example of an illuminated manuscript.

Notice the large ornate first letter.

Example of Illuminated Manuscript Page

Besides these forms of art, the Gothic era also had its selection of traditional artists that painted and such. There subjects were, once again, religious in nature and I am not really fond of the painting but they are considered great painters of their time. Here are some examples of paintings from the Gothic era:


"Nativity", Giotto

Giotto, “Nativity”, 1305

Hieronymus Bosch

"Christ Carrying Cross", Hieronymus Bosch

If you’d lie to research some more artists and their styles from the Gothic era here is a list of famous artists of the ime:

  • Nicola Pisano
  • Fra Guglielmo
  • Giottino
  • Stefano de Verona
  • Jean Maluoel
  • Herman Limbourg
  • Henri Bellechose
  • Peter Parler

The Gothic era was filled with geometric shapes and religious icons and symbology in its art. Many of these things are incorporated in the art styles we have today.

Now here is an Art Project having to do with the Gothic era. Some people may have done this in elementary school during an arts and crafts class, but its a lot of fun, if not a little time consuming.


Materials Needed:

  • 1 sheet of black construction paper
  • Colored construction paper
  • Exacto Knife
  • Glue
  • Pencil


  1. On the black sheet of construction paper draw a design using shapes. Make sure to keep space around each of your lines so that there is an outline in your picture. Look at examples of stained glass online to see what I am talking about.
  2. Using the Exacto Knife, carefully cut the shapes out so that all you are left with is the outline of you design or drawing.
  3. Using pieces of construction paper cut to fit, fill in the empty spaces and glue the pieces onto the back of the black construction paper. Make sure that the color construction paper you are using to fill one shape does not overlap into your other shape.
  4. When you are done gluing your colored construction paper, get another piece of construction paper and glue it to the back so that the messy back part does not show.
  5. Flip over and look at your beautiful “stained glass” art!

Here is an example of what it should look like when you are done.

Example of stained glass project


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