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




LATER THIRTEENTH-CENTURY GOTHIC. HIGH GOTHIC CATHEDRAL.

 

462. Axonometric projection of a High Gothic cathedral (after Acland).

1) Bay;

2) Nave;

3)
Side aisle;

4)
Nave arcade;

5) Triforium;

6)
Clerestory:

7)
Pier;

8)
Compound pier;

9) Sexpartite vault;

10)
Buttress;

11)
Flying buttress;

12)
Flying arch;

13)
Roof

 




ST.-URBAIN.



463. St.-Urbain, Troves. 1261-75

The High Gothic cathedrals of France represent a concentrated expenditure of effort such as the world has rarely seen before or since. They are truly national monuments, whose immense cost was borne by donations collected all over the country and from all classes of society
the tangible expression of that merging of religious and patriotic fervor that had been the goal of Abbot Suger. As we approach the second half of the thirteenth century, we sense that this wave of enthusiasm has passed its crest. Work on the vast structures begun during the first half now proceeds at a slower pace. New projects are fewer and generally on a far less ambitious scale. Lastly, the highly organized teams of masons and sculptors that had developed at the sites of the great cathedrals during the preceding decades gradually break up into smaller units.

A characteristic church of the later years of the century, St.-Urbain in Troyes (figs. 463 and 464), leaves no doubt that the heroic age of the Gothic style is past. Refinement of detail, rather than towering monumentality, has become the chief concern. By eliminating the triforium and simplifying the plan, the designer has created a delicate glass cage (the choir windows begin ten feet above the floor), sustained by flying buttresses so thin as to be hardly noticeable. The same spiny, attenuated elegance can be felt in the architectural ornament.



463. Basilique Saint-Urbain de Troyes
464. Basilique Saint-Urbain, interior
 



FLAMBOYANT GOTHIC.

ST.-MACLOU, ROUEN



465. St.-Maclou, Rouen. Begun 1434


In some respects, St.-Urbain is prophetic of the Late, or Flamboyant, phase of Gothic architecture. The beginnings of Flamboyant Gothic do indeed seem to go back to the late thirteenth century, but its growth was delayed by the Hundred Years' War with England, so that we do not meet any full-fledged examples of it until the early fifteenth. Its name, which means flamelike, refers to the undulating patterns of curve and countercurve that are a prevalent feature of Late Gothic tracery, as at
St.-Maclou in Rouen
(fig. 465). Structurally, Flamboyant Gothic shows no significant developments of its own. What distinguishes St.-Maclou from such churches as St.-Urbain in Troves is the luxuriant profusion of ornament. The architect has turned into a virtuoso who overlays the structural skeleton with a web of decoration so dense and fanciful as to obscure it almost completely. It becomes a fascinating game of hide-and-seek to locate the "bones" of the building within this picturesque tangle of lines.


465. St.-Maclou, Rouen. Begun 1434




SAINTE-CHAPELLE.



Sainte-Chapelle


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

La Sainte-Chapelle (French pronunciation: [la sɛ̃t ʃapɛl], The Holy Chapel) is a Gothic chapel on the Île de la Cité in the heart of Paris, France. It is often regarded as the high point of the Rayonnant period of Gothic architecture. The Sainte Chapelle was sponsored by King Louis IX of France. The date when building work started is unknown (some time between 1239 and 1243) but the chapel was largely complete at the time of its consecration on the 26th of April 1248.

Prior to dissolution of the Sainte-Chapelle in 1803, following the French Revolution, the term "la Sainte-Chapelle royale" also referred not only to the building but to the chapelle itself, the Sainte-Chapelle (choir).

The Sainte-Chapelle, the palatine chapel in the courtyard of what is now known as La Conciergerie but was, at that time, the royal palace on the Île de la Cité, was built to house precious relics: Christ's crown of thorns, the Image of Edessa and thirty other relics of Christ that had been in the possession of Louis IX since August 1239, when they arrived from Venice in the hands of two Dominican friars. Unlike many devout aristocrats who stole relics, the saintly Louis bought his precious relics of the Passion, purchased from Baldwin II, the Latin emperor at Constantinople, for the exorbitant sum of 135,000 livres. This large amount was paid to the Venetians, to whom the relics had been pawned. The entire chapel, by contrast, cost 40,000 livres to build and until it was complete the relics were housed at chapels at the Château de Vincennes and a specially built chapel at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye. In 1241, a piece of the True Cross was added along with other relics. Thus the building in Paris, consecrated 26 April 1248, was like a precious reliquary: even the stonework was painted with medallions of saints and martyrs in the quatrefoils of the dado arcade, which was hung with rich textiles.

At the same time, it reveals Louis' political and cultural ambition, with the imperial throne at Constantinople occupied by a mere Count of Flanders and with the Holy Roman Empire in uneasy disarray, to be the central monarch of western Christendom. Just as the Emperor could pass privately from his palace into the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, so now Louis could pass directly from his palace into the Sainte-Chapelle.

The royal chapel was a prime exemplar of the developing culminating phase of Gothic architectural style called "Rayonnant" that achieved a sense of weightlessness. Its architect is generally thought to have been Pierre de Montereau. It stands squarely upon a lower chapel, which served as parish church for all the inhabitants of the palace, which was the seat of government (see "palace"). The king was later recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church.

The most visually beautiful aspects of the chapel, considered the best of their type in the world, are its stained glass, for which the stonework is a delicate framework, and rose windows, added to the upper chapel in the fifteenth century.

No designer-builder is directly mentioned in archives concerned with the construction, but the name of Pierre de Montreuil, who had rebuilt the apse of the Royal Abbey of Saint-Denis and completed the façade of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris is sometimes connected with the Sainte-Chapelle.

The Parisian scholastic Jean de Jandun praised the building as one of Paris's most beautiful structures in his "Tractatus de laudibus Parisius" (1323), citing "that most beautiful of chapels, the chapel of the king, most decently situated within the walls of the king's house, enjoys a complete and indissoluble structure of the most solid stone. The most excellent colors of the pictures, the precious gilding of the images, the beautiful transparence of the ruddy windows on all sides, the most beautiful cloths of the altars, the wondrous merits of the sanctuary, the figures of the reliquaries externally adorned with dazzling gems, bestow such a hyperbolic beauty on that house of prayer, that, in going into it below, one understandably believes oneself, as if rapt to heaven, to enter one of the best chambers of Paradise. O how salutary prayers to the all-powerful God pour out in these oratories, when the internal and spiritual purities of those praying correspond proportionally with the external and physical elegance of the oratory! O how peacefully to the most holy God the praises are sung in these tabernacles, when the hearts of those singers are by the pleasing pictures of the tabernacle analogically beautified with the virtues! O how acceptable to the most glorious God appear the offerings on these altars, when the life of those sacrificing shines in correspondence with the gilded light of the altars!"

Much of the chapel as it appears today is a re-creation, although nearly two-thirds of the windows are authentic. The chapel suffered its most grievous destruction in the late eighteenth century during the French Revolution, when the steeple and baldachin were removed, the relics dispersed (though some survive as the "relics of Sainte-Chapelle" at Notre Dame de Paris), and various reliquaries, including the grande châsse, were melted down. The Sainte-Chapelle was requisitioned as an archival depository in 1803. Two meters' worth of glass was removed to facilitate working light and destroyed or put on the market. Its well-documented restoration, completed under the direction of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in 1855, was regarded as exemplary by contemporaries and is faithful to the original drawings and descriptions of the chapel that survive.

The Sainte-Chapelle has been a national historic monument since 1862.



Glass windows at Sainte-Chapelle in Paris




ROUEN CATHEDRAL.



Rouen Cathedral

Rouen Cathedral (French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen) is a Roman Catholic Gothic cathedral in Rouen, in northwestern France.
It is the seat of the Archbishop of Rouen and Normandy.



Rouen Cathedral



Rouen Cathedral




Claude Monet - Rouen Cathedral, 1894, Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France




BEAUVAIS CATHEDRAL



Beauvais Cathedral


Beauvais Cathedral (French: Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Beauvais) is an incomplete cathedral located in Beauvais, in northern France. It is the seat of the Bishop of Beauvais, Noyon and Senlis. It is, in some respects, the most daring achievement of Gothic architecture, and consists only of a transept (sixteenth-century) and choir, with apse and seven polygonal apsidal chapels (thirteenth century), which are reached by an ambulatory. The small Romanesque church of the tenth century, known as the Basse Œuvre, much restored, still occupies the site destined for the nave.

Work was begun in 1225 under count-bishop Miles de Nanteuil, immediately after the third in a series of fires in the old wooden-roofed basilica, which had reconsecrated its altar only three years before the fire; the choir was completed in 1272, in two campaigns, with an interval (123238) owing to a funding crisis provoked by a struggle with Louis IX. The two campaigns are distinguishable by a slight shift in the axis of the work and by what Stephen Murray characterizes as "changes in stylistic handwriting." Under Bishop Guillaume de Grez, an extra 4.9 m was added to the height, to make it the highest-vaulted cathedral in Europe. The vaulting in the interior of the choir reaches 48 m in height, far surpassing the concurrently constructed Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Amiens, with its 42-m nave.

The work was interrupted in 1284 by the collapse of some of the vaulting of the recently completed choir. This collapse is often seen as a disaster that produced a failure of nerve among the French masons working in Gothic style; modern historians have reservations about this deterministic view. Stephen Murray notes that the collapse also "ushers in the age of smaller structures associated with demographic decline, the Hundred Years War, and of the thirteenth century."

However, large-scale Gothic design continued, and the choir was rebuilt at the same height, albeit with more columns in the chevet and choir, converting the vaulting from quadripartite vaulting to sexpartite vaulting. The transept was built from 1500 to 1548. In 1573, the fall of a too-ambitious 153-m central tower stopped work again. The tower would have made the church the second highest structure in the world at the time (after St. Olaf's church, Tallinn). Afterwards little structural addition was made.

The choir has always been wholeheartedly admired: Eugène Viollet-le-Duc called the Beauvais choir "the Parthenon of French Gothic."

Its facades, especially that on the south, exhibit all the richness of the late Gothic style. The carved wooden doors of both the north and the south portals are masterpieces, respectively, of Gothic and Renaissance workmanship. The church possesses an elaborate astronomical clock in neo-Gothic taste (1866) and tapestries of the 15th and 17th centuries, but its chief artistic treasures are stained glass windows of the 13th, 14th, and 16th centuries, the most beautiful of them from the hand of Renaissance artist Engrand Le Prince, a native of Beauvais. To him also is due some of the stained glass in St-Etienne, the second church of the town, and an interesting example of the transition stage between the Gothic and the Renaissance styles.

During the Middle Ages, on January 14, the Feast of Asses was annually celebrated in Beauvais cathedral, in commemoration of the Flight into Egypt.



Beauvais Cathedral from the east

 

SECULAR ARCHITECTURE.

Since our account of medieval architecture is mainly concerned with the development of style, we have until now confined our attention to religious structures, the most ambitious as well as the most representative efforts of the age. Secular building reflects the same general trends, but these are often obscured by the diversity of types, ranging from bridges and fortifications to royal palaces, from barns to town halls. Moreover, social, economic, and practical factors play a more important part here than in church design, so that the useful life of the buildings is apt to be much briefer and their chance of preservation correspondingly less. (Fortifications, indeed, are often made obsolete by-even minor advances in the technology of warfare.) As a consequence, our knowledge of secular structures of the pre-Gothic Middle Ages remains extremely fragmentary, and most of the surviving examples from Gothic times belong to the latter half of the period. This fact, however, is not without significance. Nonreligious architecture, both private and public, became far more elaborate during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries than it had been before.


466. Court, House of Jacques Coeur, Bourges. 144351

The history of the Louvre in Paris provides a telling example. The original building, erected about 1200, followed the severely functional plan of the castles of that time. It consisted mainly of a stout tower, the donjon or keep, surrounded by a heavy wall. In the 1360s, King Charles V had it built as a sumptuous royal residence. Although this second Louvre, too, has now disappeared, we know what it looked like from a fine miniature painted in the early fifteenth century (see fig. 537).

There is still a defensive outer wall, but the great structure behind it has far more the character of a palace than of a fortress. Symmetrically laid out around a square court, it provided comfortable quarters for the royal family and household (note the countless chimneys) as well as lavishly decorated halls for state occasions. (Figure 538, another miniature from the same manuscript, conveys a good impression of such a hall.)

If the exterior of the second Louvre still has some of the forbidding qualities of a stronghold, the sides toward the court displayed a wealth of architectural ornament and sculpture. The same contrast also appears in the house of Jacques Coeur in Bourges, built in the 1440s. We speak of it as a house, not a palace, only because Jacques Coeur was a silversmith and merchant, rather than a nobleman. Since he also was one of the richest men of his day, he could well afford an establishment obviously modeled on the mansions of the aristocracy. The courtyard (fig. 466), with its high-pitched roofs, its pinnacles and decorative carvings, suggests the picturesque qualities familiar to us from Flamboyant church architecture (fig. 465). That we should find an echo of the Louvre court in a merchant's residence is striking proof of the importance attained by the urban middle class during the later Middle Ages.

 
 

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