Gothic art finds its roots in the powerful architecture of the cathedrals of northern France. It is a medieval art movement that evolved throughout Europe over more than 200 years. Leaving curved Roman forms behind, the architects started using flying buttresses and pointed arches to open up cathedrals to daylight. A period of great economic and social change, the Gothic era also saw the development of a new iconography celebrating the Holy Mary - in drastic contrast to the fearful themes of dark Roman times. Full of rich changes in all of the various art forms (architecture, sculpture, painting, etc.), Gothic art paved the way for the Italian Renaissance and International Gothic movement.