Key Dates: 1200-1600

This style prevailed between the 12th century and the 16th century in Europe. Mainly an architectural movement, Gothic was characterised by its detailed ornamentation most noticeably the pointed archways and elaborate rib vaulting.

First developed in France, Gothic was intended as a solution to the inadequacies of Romanesque architecture. It allowed for cathedrals to be built with thinner walls and it became possible to introduce stained glass windows instead of traditional mosaic decorations. Some of the finest examples of the style include the cathedrals of Chartres, Reims and Amiens. The term was also used to describe sculpture and painting that demonstrated a greater degree of naturalism.