The English Cathedral: Architecture as Visual Persuasion

By James Donald Ragsdale.

Published by The Arts Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The visual persuasiveness or impact of architecture is the consequence of the architect’s deliberate use of elements of design such as line, scale, site, color, ornament, acoustics, mass, and the like. Cathedrals in general, and English cathedrals in particular, offer good case studies to illustrate the use of elements of architecture to impact and influence viewers. This paper assesses the architecture of cathedrals at Salisbury, Bath, York, Durham, Oxford, London, and elsewhere as visual persuasion. It considers the discursive elements of visual persuasion, such as portal sculptures, as well as the nondiscursive elements such as light and site in this evaluation.

Keywords: Visual Persuasion, English Cathedrals, Elements of Architecture

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp.259-278. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.756MB).

Dr. James Donald Ragsdale

Professor and Chair, Department of Communication Studies, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, USA

J. Donald Ragsdale is the author of three recent books on the subject of structures as visual persuasion, especially the art museums of the US and Western Europe. He is a Professor of Communication Studies and Chair of the department at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, USA. His primary area of specialty is the semiotics of visual communication, and he is an avid photographer. A version of this paper appeared previously in Ragsdale, J. D. 2011. Compelling Form: Architecture as Visual Persuasion. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

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