2018HSSL_FlipBooks

2018_FlipBook_Getlein_LivingWithArt_12e

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T H E M I D D L E A G E S I N E U R O P E  • 367 15.19 West facade, Chartres Cathedral. John Elk III/Bruce Coleman, Inc./ Photoshot 15.20 Plan of Chartres Cathedral. The towers, south spire, and facade had originally been built as additions to an older Romanesque church that stood on the site. When a fire in 1194 burned this older part of the church to the ground, it was rebuilt over the course of the next sixty years in the Gothic style we see today. The plan (15.20) shows the famil- iar cross form, but the choir and ambulatory have taken on much larger proportions compared with those at Sainte-Foy. The soaring, open spaces of the interior were created with ribbed vaulting and pointed arches much like those we saw in Chapter 13 in the cathedral at Reims, built around the same time (see 13.11). The final addition to Chartres was the spire atop the north (left) tower. Built in the early 16th century, it illustrates the last phase of Gothic style—a slender, elongated, and highly ornamental style called Flamboyant, French for "flamelike." Sculpture in the Middle Ages was often created to embellish architecture. Over two thousand carved figures decorate the exterior of Chartres Cathedral. Concen- trated especially around principal entryways, they serve as a transition between the everyday world of the town and the sacred space within, forming a sort of "welcom- ing committee" for the faithful as they enter. Like the architecture itself, the sculp- tures were created at different times, and in them, too, we can appreciate the evolution of Gothic style. Early Gothic style can be seen in the elongated and flattened bodies of these 12th-century carvings from the principal entry of the cathedral (15.21). In fact, it is difficult to believe that there are actual bodies under the draperies at all. The linear folds of the draperies are not so much sculpted as incised—drawn into the stone with a chisel. We can think of them as a sculptural equivalent of the garments in the Byzantine mosaic we looked at earlier (see 15.9), created around the same time.

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