The Medieval World, C. 400–1300

Gothic Europe

What is a flying buttress?

A flying buttress is a graceful masonry support that projects from the side of a wall and adds strength to arches and piers that bear heavy loads. Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is known for its flying buttresses, some of which can be seen on the exterior of the apse. The delicate cascade of the flying buttress belies its serious structural role. Without the flying buttress, Gothic cathedrals could not have reached the awesome heights they are known for.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Art History Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App