Flamboyant style - Encyclopedia

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FLAMBOYANT STYLE, the term given to the phase of Gothic architecture in France which corresponds in period to the Perpendicular style. The word literally means "flowing" or "flaming," in consequence of the resemblance to the curved lines of flame in window tracery. The earliest examples of flowing tracery are found in England in the later phases of the Decorated style, where, in consequence of the omission of the enclosing circles of the tracery, the carrying through of the foliations resulted in a curve of contrary flexure of ogee form and hence the term flowing tracery. In the minster and the church of St Mary at Beverley, dating from 1320 and 1330, are the earliest examples in England; in France its first employment dates from about 1460, and it is now generally agreed that the flamboyant style was introduced from English sources. One of the chief characteristics of the flamboyant style in France is that known as "interpenetration," in which the base mouldings of one shaft are penetrated by those of a second shaft of which the faces are set diagonally. This interpenetration, which was in a sense a tour de force of French masons, was carried to such an extent that in a lofty rood-screen the mouldings penetrating the base-mould would be found to be those of a diagonal buttress :situated 20 to 30 ft. above it. It was not limited, however, to internal work; in late 15th and early 16th century ecclesiastical architecture it is found on the facades of some French cathedrals, and often on the outside of chapels added in later times.

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