Style of architecture that flourished in Europe during the High and Late Middle Ages. Originating in 12th-century France, it was widely used, especially for cathedrals and churches, until the 16th century.
Its most prominent features included the use of the rib vault and the flying buttress, and the extensive use of stained glass, and the rose window. Another feature was the use of realistic statuary on the exterior, particularly over the portals, to illustrate biblical stories for the largely illiterate parishioners. These technologies had all existed in the preceding Romanesque architecture, but they were used in more innovative ways and more extensively in Gothic architecture to make buildings taller, lighter and stronger.