Dictionary of Art and Artists



 

 


History of

Architecture and Sculpture

 
 

 

 
 

 
 

CONTENTS:

 
 

PART ONE
THE ANCIENT WORLD
PREHISTORIC ART
EGYPTIAN ART

ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN ART
AEGEAN ART
GREEK ART
ETRUSCAN ART
ROMAN ART
EARLY CHRISTIAN AND BYZANTINE ART

PART TWO
THE MIDDLE AGES
EARLY MEDIEVAL ART
ROMANESQUE ART
GOTHIC ART

PART THREE
THE RENAISSANCE THROUGH THE ROCOCO
LATE GOTHIC
THE EARLY RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
THE HIGH RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
MANNERISM AND OTHER TRENDS
THE RENAISSANCE IN THE NORTH
THE BAROQUE IN ITALY AND SPAIN
THE BAROQUE IN FLANDERS AND HOLLAND
THE BAROQUE
THE ROCOCO

PART FOUR
THE MODERN WORLD
NEOCLASSICISM AND ROMANTICISM
REALISM AND IMPRESSIONISM
POST-IMPRESSIONISM, SYMBOLISM, AND ART NOUVEAU

PART FIVE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY
TWENTIETH-CENTURY SCULPTURE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURE


INDEX
FIGURES
 

 
 

 
 

CHAPTER THREE
 

GOTHIC ART
 

ARCHITECTURE - Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

SCULPTURE - Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

STAINED GLASS - Part 1, 2

PAINTING - Part 1, 2

 
 


ARCHITECTURE
 


France    



see also:
Architecture in France




CHARTRES CATHEDRAL.



450. West facade, Chartres Cathedral (north spire is 16th century). 1145-1220




451. Chartres Cathedral




452. Portals, north transept, Chartres Cathedral


Toward
1145 the bishop of Chartres, who befriended Abbot Suger and shared his ideas, began to rebuild his cathedral in the new style. Fifty years later, all but the west facade, which provided the main entrance to the church, and the east crypt were destroyed by a fire (for sculpture of the west portals, see figs. 485 and 486). A second rebuilding was begun in 1194 (fig. 450), and as the result of a huge campaign was largely accomplished within the astonishingly brief span of 26 years. The basic design is so unified that it must have been planned by a single master builder. However, because the construction proceeded in several stages and was never entirely finished, the church incorporates an evolutionary, rather than a systematic, harmony. For example, the two west towers, though similar, are by no means identical. Moreover, their spires are radically different: the north spire on the left dates from the early sixteenth century, nearly 300 years later than the other.

The church was erected on the highest point in town and the spires can be seen for miles in the surrounding farmland (fig. 451). Had the seven other spires been completed as originally planned, Chartres would convey a less insistent directionality. Both arms of the transept have three deeply recessed portals lavishly embellished with sculpture and surmounted by an immense rose window over five smaller lancets (fig. 452). Perhaps the most striking feature of the flanks is the flying buttresses, whose massing lends a powerfully organic presence to the semicircular apse at the east end, with its seven subsidiary chapels (figs. 451 and 453).



453.
Transverse section of Chartres Cathedral (after Acland)
454. Nave and choir, Chartres Cathedral
 

The impressive west facade, divided into units of two and three, is a model of lucidity. Its soaring verticality and punctuated surface are important in shaping our expectations about the interior. The shape of the doors tells us that we will first be ushered into a low chamber. As soon as we enter the narthex (the covered anteroom) we have left the temporal world completely behind. It takes some time for our eyes to adjust to the darkness of the interior. The noise of daily life has been shut out as well; at first, sounds are eerily muffled, as if swallowed up with light by the void. Once we recover from the disorienting effect of this cavernous realm, we become aware of a glimmering light, which guides us into the full height of the church. Conceived one generation after the nave of Notre-Dame in Paris, the rebuilt nave (fig. 454) represents the first masterpiece of the mature, or High Gothic, style.

The openings of the pointed nave arcade are taller and narrower (see fig.
446). They are joined to a clerestory of the same height by a short triforium screening the galleries, which have now been reduced to a narrow wall. Responds have been added to the columnar supports, so as to stress the continuity of the vertical lines and guide our eye upward to the quadripartite vaults, which seem like diaphanous webs stretched across the slender ribs. Because there are so few walls, the vast interior space of Chartres Cathedral initially seems indeterminate. It is made to seem even larger by the sense of disembodied sound. The effect is so striking that it would seem to have been thought of from the beginning with music in mind, both antiphonal choirs and large pipe organs, which had already been in use for more than two centuries in some parts of Europe.

The alternating sequence of round and octagonal piers that demark each bay marches down the nave toward the apse, where the liturgy is performed. Beneath the apse is the crypt, which houses Chartres' most important possession: remnants of the robe said to have been worn by the Virgin Mary, to whom the cathedral is dedicated. The venerable relic, which miraculously survived the great fire of 1194, drew pilgrims from all over Europe. In order to accommodate large numbers of visitors without disturbing worshipers, the church incorporates a wide aisle running the length of the nave and around the transept; it is joined at the choir by a second aisle, forming an ambulatory that connects the apsidal chapels (see plan, fig. 455).



455.
Plan. Chartres Cathedral
456. Triforium wall of the nave, Chartres Cathedral

Alone among all major Gothic cathedrals, Chartres still retains most of its more than 180 original stained-glass windows (see fig. 509). The magic of the colored light streaming down from the clerestory through the large windows is unforgettable to anyone who has experienced their intense, jewellike hues (fig. 456). The windows admit far less light than one might expect. They act mainly as multicolored diffusing filters that change the quality of ordinary daylight, endowing

it with the poetic and symbolic valuesthe "miraculous light"so highly praised by Abbot Suger. The sensation of ethereal light, which dissolves the physical solidity of the church and, hence, the distinction between the temporal and the divine realms, creates the intensely mystical experience that lies at the heart of Gothic spirituality. The aisles, however, are considerably darker because the stained-glass windows on the outer walls, though relatively large, are nevertheless smaller and located at ground level, where they let in less light than at the clerestory level.



North porch of Chartres Cathedral




Chartres Cathedral. The west facade (Portail Royale)




Chartres Cathedral, South Portal, Redeemed souls represented as infants




Chartres Cathedral
 


Notre-Dame de la Belle Verrière, Stained glass window in the choir of Chartres cathedral. The lower part depics the Temptation of Christ. The two following parts relate the Marriage at Cana. 12th century (parts with the red background) and 13th century.





Northern rose window of Chartres cathedral. The rose depicts the Glorification of the Virgin Mary, surrounded by angels, twelve kings of Juda (David, Solomon, Abijam, Jehoshaphat, Uzziah, Ahaz, Manasseh, Hezechiah, Jehoiakim, Jehoram, Asa et Rehoboam) and the twelve lesser prophets (Hosea, Amos, Jonah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Zechariah, Malachi, Haggai, Habakkuk, Micah, Obadiah and Joel). Below, the arms of France and Castile (the window was offered by Blanche of Castile). The five lancets represent Saint anne, mother of the Virgin, surrounded by the kings Melchizedek, David, Solomon and by Aaron, treading the sinner and idolatrous kings: Nebuchadnezzar, Saul, Jeroboam and Pharaoh.




Window of the Vendome Chapel, c.1415


 

 


Chartres Cathedral

Chartres Cathedral, also called Notre-Dame d’Chartres or the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Gothic cathedral located in the town of Chartres, northwestern France. Generally ranked as one of the three chief examples of Gothic French architecture (along with Amiens Cathedral and Reims Cathedral), it is noted not only for its architectural innovations but also for its numerous sculptures and its much-celebrated stained glass. The cathedral’s association with the Virgin Mary (the supposed veil of the Virgin is kept in the cathedral treasury) made it the destination of pilgrims in the Middle Ages.

The oldest parts of the cathedral are its crypt and the west portal, or Royal Portal, which are remnants of a Romanesque church that was mostly destroyed by fire in 1194. The present cathedral was constructed on the foundations of the earlier church and consecrated in 1260. It is built of limestone and stands some 112 feet (34 metres) high and is 427 feet (130 metres) long. In many ways, the cathedral’s design resembles those of its contemporaries, especially Laon Cathedral, but it displays innovations with its tall arcades, unusually narrow triforium, and huge clerestory—the massive weight of which required using flying buttresses in an unprecedented manner.

The cathedral contains an immense amount of sculpture, particularly figure sculpture, ranging from large column statues to miniatures. As the purpose of the sculptures was to preach and instruct, they mainly depict scenes and figures from the Old and New Testaments.

Chartres Cathedral contains 176 stained-glass windows, the feature for which it may be best known. Like the sculpture, the stained glass was intended to be educational. The five windows of the choir hemicycle (a semicircular arrangement) relate in various ways to the Virgin Mary. The rose window in the north transept portrays figures from the Old Testament. The south transept, which is representative of the New Testament, has a rose window depicting the Apocalypse.

Several alterations have been made to the cathedral. The northwest tower’s distinctive spire, for example, was added in the early 1500s. Chartres emerged with relatively little damage from the political and religious upheavals of the 16th century and sustained less damage than most cathedrals during the French Revolution (1787–99). After a fire damaged the roof in 1836, a series of restorations were carried out during the 19th century. In 1979 Chartres Cathedral was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. During the late 20th century preservation efforts concentrated on protecting the cathedral’s stained glass from air pollution damage.

Encyclopædia Britannica
 

 

 
 

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