The name Gothic was coined in the sixteenth century by Giorgio Vasari as a perjorative for Medieval architecture. . It denotes the style between Romanesque and Renaissance, characterized by pointed arches, extended door and window space, structural complexity, immense size, and (especially in northern Europe) by large stained glass windows and sculptured doorways. As the style evolved, door and window sizes grew, and the masonry was reduced to webs of ribs, pillars and arches. The early exemplars in the north of France were the churchs of Saint Denis (1144), Chartres (1150, Laon (1160), Paris Notre Dame (1163), Reims (1211), and Amiens (1220). All are graced by spectacular stained glass windows, some of circular form, the inspiring rose windows. The Gothic cathedrals of Chartres, Reims, and Amiens are regarded as the classic examples of High Gothic architecture extant today Indeed, the stained glass of Chartres provides our best knowledge of the Gothic stained glass art, with 152 original windows still intact . The main period of creation of the Chartres windows began with the cathedral reconstruction of 1194. The three great rose windows were made around 1200, and most of the 160 windows were competed by 1240 .
Chartres is also important for the link it provides between the prehistoric Goddess tradition, antique Neoplatonic philosophy, and Gothic Christianity. This link is significant for the special appeal of the Gothic tradition to the spiritual revival, and the Green movement, today. The structural revolution of the Gothic cathedral, with its supporting webs and ribs releaving the walls of their compressive function, enabled the spectacular expansion of glass which dominates these buildings from the interior perspective. The illuminationist motive for the expensive decorations in these transparent walls may be traced back to Dionysius, Boethius, and Saint Augustine . The aspect of the luminescent scenes from within was slowly animated by the constantly changing light without .