The Gothic era began in the 12th century and lasted until as late as the 16th century in some areas. The term "Gothic" was derived from the Gothic tribes that had sacked Rome centuries before. The art and architecture of the time period are considered the most important contributions of the Gothic era.
The beautiful architecture of the Gothic era was actually created to solve the problem posed by heavy stone arches that collapsed because of a lack of support. The rib vault and flying buttress, along with the popular Gothic pointed arch, solved this problem and allowed architects to create gigantic stone structures. Art was incorporated by introducing the stained glass windows that are often seen in Gothic-era buildings. By the late Gothic period, this type of architecture and art could be seen in churches, public buildings and even in private residences throughout Europe.
The Gothic style eventually became very flamboyant and made use of intricate sculpture, which was normally used in churches and religious houses. Early Gothic sculpture can be seen as simple and stiff, eventually transforming to a more natural and relaxed form. Gothic paintings followed this example, and Gothic art began to exhibit better spatial depth over time.