Gothic rose in architecture

Window rose often refers to the General term describing this architectural phenomenon of the round window. Most often it is decorated with stained glass. Especially known for the term "Gothic rose" as especially popular this method was in the period Gothic style in architecture.

Brief description

the expression “the rose window" appeared in the XVII century and was related to the Gothic round window, often found on the facades of Gothic and Romanesque churches. The name of this architectural method is obtained thanks to the similarity of the “multi-leaf" and symmetrical stained glass with English rose under which, especially at that time, meant a flower of wild rose.

rose in Gothic architecture is particularly characteristic of Gothic style, but is not limited to them. Round window was observed in the structure of temples, churches and other structures from ancient times, through the middle Ages and especially during the Gothic revival. That is why a large window rounded form is found throughout the world in buildings of different purposes, ages and styles.


the Roots of Gothic roses go back to the Roman Oculus – a large circular hole, designed to let not only light but also the air in the room. The most famous okulyus is located in the Roman Pantheon, at the top of the dome. In the early Christian and Byzantine architecture round Oculus used either in the tops of domes or low pediments. Round window with a stone frame also appeared in antiquity, but rare variants have survived to our times. With regard to the geometric pattern of roses, he was highly developed in Roman mosaic.

Styles and types

a rose Window is of several varieties, among which can be classified into four types:
  • Okulyus – the simple round window figure without binding. Example: The Pantheon.
  • Simple rose – the circle in the center, the edges of which are arches in the shape of petals. Example: “the Eyes of the Abbot” in Lincoln Cathedral.

  • Wheel & ndash; round window with symmetrical spokes. Also known as Catherine rose in honor of SV. Catherine, who had been tortured on the wheel. Example: the Cathedral of Lucera, Italy.
  • Gothic rose window-round window with intricate designs, often decorated with stained glass. Resembles a blossoming rose. Example: The Notre Dame Cathedral.
of Course, over time, there are some other types of Gothic roses, for example, oval and elliptical Windows of the Baroque style, but the above types are the most commonly used.

Size window

Initially the Windows were of a small size and gradually moved from Romanesque style in the Gothic. Over time, Gothic rose began to occupy more and more space on the facades of buildings, giving the lightness of the stone structures. After the completion of the Notre Dame these Windows have become almost an integral part of the architectural style, almost the same as the columns, Lancet Windows and flying buttresses. However, in comparison with the further development of this kind of the famous rose Windows of Notre Dame Cathedral – not that big of a window, especially compared to the facades of Chartres or Saint-Denis.

History and development of Gothic rose

Despite the fact that the origins of the rose-window are deeply rooted in antiquity, its modern form and popularity it has received thanks to Gothic architecture, so it makes sense to trace the development of this form since the period of the early Gothic to modern.
  • Early Gothic is characterized by a relatively simple form of roses, is mainly used wheel structure and clear geometric shapes: circles, triangles and squares. This style was the most popular during the Gothic revival, probably due to its simplicity and effectiveness.
  • High Gothic is characterized by a more complex design with lots of racks and divisions, with complex forms and complex stained glass composition. In addition, began to increase and the size of the roses, they were given the whole of the arch of the lateral naves.
  • Flaming Gothic style characterized by intricate patterns reminiscent of flames, hence the name. This trend was clearly reflected in the round window of the early style. Patterns resembling weaving branches and vines Latin's corner, decorated with Gothic stained glass. Rose in the rest of little different shapes and sizes.
  • Renaissance were distinguished by their desire to shake off the «gray» the dark ages, so almost all of the Gothic elements ceased to be actively used, replaced by the classics. However, rose found its continuation in the form of simple akolosov, occasionally decorated the facades and domes of buildings of the Renaissance period.
  • Baroque Style dare to change the shape of a rose, tending to oval window with a simple straightforward design, quite often with no stained glass window.
In modern architecture, there is often a simple and straightforward style of Oculus. With the exception of the Gothic revival, in the period of modern Gothic rose became an architectural luxury and rarity.


During the Gothic the subject of stained glass-roses often become the day of judgment. Gothic rose was placed in the arch over the Western entrance to the temple that could be the reason for the choice of subject, since the Western wall is usually devoted to the theme of the last judgment.

Over time, rose began to appear on the aisles, where at least one of them was dedicated to the virgin Mary. Link Gothic rose with the symbol of the Mother of Christ is supported by the fact that Mary is often called the “Mystical rose” and attributed to her character – flower of a dogrose. However, this symbolism appeared before the window and began to call rose.