As well as sculpture and architecture, the Gothic cathedrals brought about the advent of the 'Rose' style stained glass window. These are enormous glass window n the shape of a 'rose' and found on the facade of the Gothic cathedrals. It is supposed to represent purity, like a rose, and is symbolic of the Virgin Mary. True to Gothic symbolism and the Jesus motif, a rose also has thorns on the stem, which can also be representative of the crown of thorns worn by Jesus as he walked through the streets bearing the cross towards his crucifixion.
Context: Construction of cathedrals, such as Amiens' Notre Dame, were a labor of love that went on for decades and sometimes centuries. Often entire generations of families would be at work on the cathedrals as an expression of transgenerational love for god.
The purpose of Gothic Cathedrals was to make the worshiper feel as thought they were truly in the presence of God. The high, imposing ceilings, awe-inspiring stained glass windows and enormous buttresses dwarfed the worshipers as they entered the building and inspired a sense of awe.They were also monuments to the power of the monarchy of the time and were central fixtures in the urban centers. In this time period, much of daily life revolved around religion and a strict adherence to the will of the laity as well as the ruling monarch. This was the time of the crusades and a widespread religious fervor.
The main two design innovations evinced in Gothic architecture are the perfection and use of the ribbed groin vault and the use of flying buttresses. Groin vaults needed massive walls to support the side stress created by them. In order to compensate for this and relieve some of the outward thrust of the traditional barrel vaults that one observes in Romanesque architecture, pointed arches were introduced. These arches change some of the outward thrust to downward thrust. The pointed arch also allowed for more flexibility in terms of the space that the arch could span. Flying buttresses absorbed the rest of the force generated by the arches. Flying buttresses are essentially an exoskeleton which take a great deal of the stress off of the inner walls and allow them to be built taller and thinner and with large openings for stained glass windows.