Thursday, 18 August 2016

Just to Explain...

Following on from one of last night’s posts, it occurs to me that people unfamiliar with European history, especially when it concerns architecture, might not get the following joke:

The Gothics, on the other hand, (a Germanic tribe from somewhere in the vicinity of Wuppertal,) invented the flying buttress…

That was a joke. There was no such tribe as the ‘Gothics’ who hailed from Wuppertal or anywhere else in Germany. I feel obliged to set the matter straight because I would hate to be responsible for some American YouTube channel on 10 Little Known Facts about European Architecture demonstrating its erudition with:

#1 How the Gothics, a tribe from Western Germany, invented the flying buttress.

Oh dear. They didn’t. Sorry.

There was a group called the Goths who did, as far as I know, come from somewhere in Germany. And if you want to read up on how an irate Italian (who didn’t like Germans because they messed up the Roman Empire) coined the term ‘Gothic’ in a pejorative sense – by using the aforesaid Goths as representative of ‘barbarous bloody Germans’ – you may do so here.

He was a little prejudiced, of course. Gothic architecture is actually both visually attractive and supremely functional, although I confess to disliking the flying buttress. I think it looks clumpy and inelegant, but that’s just me. Please don’t blame the Germans for my divergence from received taste.

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