Salisbury Cathedral: 14 June
I visited Salisbury Cathedral today. Other than it being filled with flowers and old people, it was a beautiful cathedral. Point of information: It was the bi-annual flower festival in Salisbury this week. I never thought of it before, but old people love flowers and they love cathedrals, so no question that there’s be hundreds of white-haired old people crowding the cathedral today.
We have been learning about architecture in class this week, so seeing the cathedral in person today was awesome. Megan and I stood in the middle of cathedral, which by the way is called the nave and pointed out the architectural elements. It was really nerdy fun.
The Salisbury Cathedral is a great example of English gothic. Its first indicator of gothic characteristics is its pointed archways. The Romans had curved archways, but the gothic period brought about these pointed archways that elongate the height of the cathedral. The pointed arch points your eye further up towards to ceiling; whereas, the Roman arched arches bring the eye up and back down. Although the pointed archways pull attention to the height of the ceiling, it is the lines in the architecture that put an emphasis on horizontal space. The arcade is the area where all the pillars and archways are. The arcade in Salisbury has a lot of layering and details on the pillars. There is a lot of depth and layers unlike the Roman cathedrals which were more plan and blocky. I doubt blocky is a good vocab word, but I’m going with it. Originally the Salisbury Cathedral did not have flying buttresses, which help hold up the nave. The cathedral didn’t need it because the nave was not as tall. Above the Arcade is what they call the gallery. In this cathedral, one can go into the gallery. It is the space directly above the top of the archways. The materials used in this church also tell you it is of the English gothic period. They used different types of material and limestone to add color. I wouldn’t necessarily call it color, but I do see the differences in color. The limestone was treated in something to make it look like marble, but don’t be fooled, it is limestone.
Like I mentioned before, one of my favorite things about this study abroad program is that we learn about something and then experience it first-hand. This was true today. I was able to critically think about the Cathedral and its elements rather than think, “Oh that’s pretty and neat.” It was hard to analysis the affects of the architect with all the distractions of flowers. Also, there were so many old people you had to watch your every step. Image one hundred Carls from Up walking around looking up at flowers and stained glass and that is what Salisbury Cathedral was like today – except less adventurous and no balloons.