Recepcija gotičkoga svoda u Hrvatskoj istražuje se kroz strukturalnu analizu brojnih relevantnih primjera gotičkih svodova u Hrvatskoj. Cilj istraživanja je nadopuniti postojeće spoznaje o gotičkom graditeljstvu u Hrvatskoj na temelju razumijevanja važnog konstruktivno-oblikovnog elementa: svoda. Svod bitno utječe na značajke zgrade kao cjeline, a budući da je prisutan kod većine sačuvanih sakralnih gotičkih zdanja u Hrvatskoj, recepcija gotičkog svodovnog sustava dobro ocrtava recepciju gotičke arhitekture i vjerojatne utjecaje na gotičko graditeljstvo u Hrvatskoj općenito. Istraživanje je interdisciplinarno: uz metode povijesti umjetnosti i povijesti primijenjena je i strukturalna analiza logike konstrukcije. Rezultat ovog istraživanja ocrtava tijek prihvaćanja gotičkog svodovnog sustava – strukturalne cjeline svoda i njegove substrukture, specifične po načinu preuzimanja opterećenja svoda, napose njegova horizontalnog potiska. Graditelji u Hrvatskoj prihvaćali su spoznaje i dostignuća iz europskih središta gotičkoga graditeljstva. Pritom su graditelji iz kontinentalne Hrvatske bili orijentirani pretežno na suvremeno srednjoeropsko graditeljstvo, a graditelji iz mediteranske Hrvatske bili su više pod utjecajem graditeljstva apeninskoga poluotoka. Vidljivi su i međuutjecaji graditeljstva kontinentalne i mediteranske Hrvatske. Hrvatska je od vremena eksperimentalnih «predgotičkih» križnih svodova s dijagonalnim lukovima, kad je, početkom 12. st., bila među najkreativnijim i najnaprednijim europskim sredinama u području graditeljstva, polako «gubila zamah». Krajem 13. st., kad se grade najraniji sačuvani gotički svodovi u kontinentalnoj i mediteranskoj Hrvatskoj - svodovi svetišta zagrebačke katedrale i svodovi apsida propovjedničkih crkava u Zadru i Puli – graditelji u Hrvatskoj prihvaćaju rješenja razvijena u Île de France, kao i ostale europske zemlje i pokrajine, koje su tada zone recepcije francuske gotike. U kasnijim razdobljima u Hrvatskoj nema velikih gradilišta, nema dakle ni radionica u kojima bi se obrazovali vješti i kreativni graditelji, stoga nema ni značajnih originalnih rješenja i razvoja. U razdoblju kasne gotike u kontinentalnoj Hrvatskoj preuzimaju se gotova rješenja parlerskoga, a kasnije i rejtovskoga svoda. Stoga je opravdano govoriti o recepciji gotičkoga svoda i u tom kasnom razdoblju.
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Vault is an important feature of Gothic architecture, which affects essentially its substructure. Gothic vault in Europe has been intensely researched by art-historians, historians of architecture and construction and by civil engineers. Croatian art-historians have researched vaults of Gothic buildings in Croatia within their studies on these buildings, but no extensive study dedicated specifically to the Gothic vault in Croatia has been done yet. The interdisciplinary research on the Gothic vault in Croatia has been carried out in order to complement the results of art-historical analysis with the “technical“ point of view. In this study methods of the history of art and engineering have been combined in order to understand both technical requirements and artistic objectives which influenced the design and construction choices of the mediaeval master-builders. In the introduction relevant knowledge on structural behaviour of various types of vaults is presented. The role of ribs as part of Gothic vaults has been given special attention, because there are still disagreements among scientists about their structural function. The Croatian achievements in Gothic vaulting are analyzed in the context of the European history of construction. The earliest groin vaults with diagonal arches in Croatia (beginning of 12th century) are compared with similar contemporary vaults in Europe, which Paul Frankl calls “Gothic rib-vaults of the first generation (1093-1120).“ Comparative analysis has proved that in this early period of experimentation with ribs under vault groins the Croatian vaults were innovative, equal in quality to the most progressive vaulting structures in Europe. On the contrary, the first preserved Gothic vaults in Croatia (13th century) clearly display dependence on European models, with certain delay (compared to early Gothic vaults of Îlede-France). However, in this period the builders everywhere in Europe were eager to follow the models of French Gothic architecture, so that it would not be correct to claim that Croatia was a provincial region lagging behind the development of architecture and construction of other European regions. In the later period, due to unfavourable political and economic circumstances, there were no important building sites with stable financing, so that Croatian architecture, including the art of vaulting, lags behind the development of prosperous European countries. Only buildings of smaller scale with vaults with relatively modest spans were built. Some of their vaults have awkward solutions, revealing lack of skill and even lack of understanding of the principles of vaulting. History of the vault construction in Croatia clearly illustrates the decline of the ars aedificatoria from a creative and innovative period in the beginning of the 12th century to the unfortunate times of Ottoman threat and occupation of a major part of Croatia. The research of numerous relevant examples of Gothic vault in Croatia has confirmed the already known regional differences between the continental and Mediterranean Croatian architecture. The differences in the types of churches – and most examples of the Gothic vault in Croatia are preserved in churches – result in different position and spatial and aesthetical features of vaults. In the Mediterranean Croatia most vaults are constructed in rectangular (or square) apses, vaulted with simple rib groin vaults. This type of building obviously testifies the influence of the simplest type of mendicant church, aisleless, with vaulted apse and unvaulted nave. The nave is vaulted only in few churches (e.g. the cathedrals of Trogir and Šibenik). Polygonally ended choir is extremely rare (e.g. Dominican church in Dubrovnik), and so is the late Gothic net vault (e.g. the chapel of the Frankopan family in the cathedral of Krk). The general concept of the vault and its details (e.g. simple roll rib mouldings, or roll mouldings decorated with rope motif) testify the influence of the architecture on the Apennine peninsula, especially that of Venice. On the contrary, polygonally ended choir is frequent in the architecture of the continental Croatia (including the interior of Istria). Like in the Mediterranean Croatia, the simplest type of the mendicant church (aisleless, with vaulting only in the presbytery) influenced most churches: those of mendicant orders, but also of other religious orders, as well as parish churches and chapels. The polygonally ended choirs (mostly five sides of regular octagon) show the influence of Central European Gothic architecture. The late Gothic vaults with decorative pattern of ribs also show the influence of Central European Gothic architecture, especially that of the workshop of Peter Parler in Prague (14th century). Toward the end of the Gothic period several vaults of another late Gothic type were built in continental Croatia, displaying influence of the workshop of Benedict Ried (end 15th – beginning 16th century). There are not many preserved examples of this type, because of long and exhausting struggles with the Ottomans. The mouldings of vault ribs in continental Croatia differ from those in Mediterranean Croatia: they change from early Gothic roll-mouldings through almond-shaped and pear-shaped mouldings to late Gothic mouldings formed by concave grooves, reflecting the development of rib mouldings in Central Europe.