Gothic architecture was originally the design style of the Goths, which spread through Western Europe from A.D. 1200 to 1500. Its characteristics include:
- pointed arches
- flying buttresses
- ribbed vaulting
Initially Italians of the Renaissance used the term “Gothic architecture” in a pejorative sense, expressing contempt for such barbarism. But as the Franks, Anglo-Saxons, Normans and Teutonic peoples converted from paganism to Christianity, they adopted this style of architecture with great success. The nineteenth century saw the 'Gothic Revival', pioneered by architect Augustus Welby Pugin, who saw Gothic as the only Christian architecture, and theorist John Ruskin. During the later nineteenth century Gothic architecture largely supplanted other stylistic forms as the chosen style of new Christian churches. Gothic architecture is considered by some Christian communities as a form of satanic worship, closely linked with the goth lifestyle.
Gothic architecture is often called the “Catholic style.”