The late Gothic period is dated between the 14th and 15th centuries, between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The period saw the development of more detailed art and sculpture and a progression from concerns of symmetry and lines to naturalism and realistic forms. Late Gothic sculptors drew from a variety of inspirations from previous periods but also made many innovations to the field of sculpting.
Late Gothic sculpture was often located in and around cathedrals featuring Gothic architecture. In this way, Gothic sculpture and architecture were closely related, coming together to create a distinctly Gothic style. While many Gothic sculptors were fond of creating gargoyles and other deformed creatures, the subject matter of the sculptures progressed and during the later Gothic period, cathedrals often featured sculptures of saints and other religious figures.
Later Gothic sculptors gave their figures more realistic traits, departing from the stiffness and rigidity of early Gothic sculptures. Sculptures in the late Gothic period are less homogeneous than their earlier counterparts. Sculptures of individuals featured more detail, making each one unique and set apart from other sculptures. As well, late Gothic sculptures of individuals were depicted more humanly, with elements of personality as opposed to the stiffer sculptures of the early Gothic period.
Larger sculptures such as monuments became more common in the late Gothic period. Often, the religious figures featured on Gothic cathedrals were created to be life-sized. Gothic architecture made developments in the structure of cathedrals that made it possible for larger sculptures to be incorporated. Additionally, late Gothic sculptors began to create freestanding sculptures.
Gothic sculpture was influenced by several other artistic movements. Romanesque sculpture with its detailed ornamentation was also influential on the late Gothic sculptors, especially regarding their attention to detail. Biblical depictions in Romanesque sculpture may have also inspired the religious subject matter adopted by late Gothic sculptors. As well, 12th century Mosan style featured a natural realism that was picked up and incorporated into sculpture during the late Gothic period.
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