The word Gothic was in the beginning used interchangeable with the word barbaric as critics of this art style perceived the art as unrefined and too remote from aesthetic proportions and shapes. In reality the compositions finally burst out of their tight frames. The art became more animated and the figures became smaller and were freely arranged wherever was space.
The Gothic art period lasted from the mid 12th until the late 15th/ early 16th century. It developed first in France from Romanesque art and spread from there all over the part of Europe that is north of the Alps until it slowly gave room to Renaissance. Earliest Gothic art works were monumental sculptures at the walls of cathedrals and abbeys. Other media prevalent in Gothic art are panel paintings, stained glass, frescoes and illuminated manuscripts.
With the rise of cities, the foundation of universities, the increase of trade, the establishment of a money-based economy and the introduction of bourgeois class that could afford to patronize the arts, secular art started to become relevant. Artists formed guilds that kept records of individual members. Some artists were even bold enough to sign their work. Hence, more artists are known to us today by name. Very barbaric indeed.