Chartres was the primary basis for the fictional Cathedral in David Macaulay 's Cathedral: Each bay of the aisles and the choir ambulatory contains one large lancet window, most of them roughly 8.
We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind. Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval.
Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions. Our editors will review what you've submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we'll add it to the article. Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: There, the architect abandoned entirely the use of the tribune gallery, but, instead of increasing the size of the arcade, he managed, by a highly individual type of flying buttress, to increase the size of the clerestory.
They alone will have come fully to life and all of the others…. The stylistic interactions between the different workshops resulted, particularly in the second quarter of the century, in a more general similarity of style between the various regional workshops. Contemporary with Chartres are…. This gives it a unity that is almost unique. The cathedral was built to replace a 12th-century church of which only…. Early Gothic sculpture In Western sculpture: Early Gothic stained glass windows In stained glass: Elements and principles of design In stained glass: Help us improve this article!
Contact our editors with your feedback. You may find it helpful to search within the site to see how similar or related subjects are covered. Any text you add should be original, not copied from other sources. At the bottom of the article, feel free to list any sources that support your changes, so that we can fully understand their context.
Internet URLs are the best. Thank You for Your Contribution! Each bay of the aisles and the choir ambulatory contains one large lancet window, most of them roughly 8. Several of the windows at Chartres include images of local tradesmen or labourers in the lowest two or three panels, often with details of their equipment and working methods. Traditionally it was claimed that these images represented the guilds of the donors who paid for the windows.
In recent years however this view has largely been discounted, not least because each window would have cost around as much as a large mansion house to make — while most of the labourers depicted would have been subsistence workers with little or no disposable income. Furthermore, although they became powerful and wealthy organisations in the later medieval period, none of these trade guilds had actually been founded when the glass was being made in the early 13th century.
Because of their greater distance from the viewer, the windows in the clerestory generally adopt simpler, bolder designs. Most feature the standing figure of a saint or Apostle in the upper two-thirds, often with one or two simplified narrative scenes in the lower part, either to help identify the figure or else to remind the viewer of some key event in their life.
Whereas the lower windows in the nave arcades and the ambulatory consist of one simple lancet per bay, the clerestory windows are each made up of a pair of lancets with a plate-traceried rose window above.
The nave and transept clerestory windows mainly depict saints and Old Testament prophets. Those in the choir depict the kings of France and Castile and members of the local nobility in the straight bays, while the windows in the apse hemicycle show those Old Testament prophets who foresaw the virgin birth, flanking scenes of the Annunciation , Visitation and Nativity in the axial window.
The cathedral has three large rose windows. The western rose, made c. A central oculus showing Christ as the Judge is surrounded by an inner ring of 12 paired roundels containing angels and the Elders of the Apocalypse and an outer ring of 12 roundels showing the dead emerging from their tombs and the angels blowing trumpets to summon them to judgement.
The north transept rose Beyond this is a ring of 12 diamond-shaped openings containing the Old Testament Kings of Judah , another ring of smaller lozenges containing the arms of France and Castille , and finally a ring of semicircles containing Old Testament Prophets holding scrolls.
The presence of the arms of the French king yellow fleurs-de-lis on a blue background and of his mother, Blanche of Castile yellow castles on a red background are taken as a sign of royal patronage for this window.
Beneath the rose itself are five tall lancet windows 7. Flanking this lancet are four more containing Old Testament figures. Each of these standing figures is shown symbolically triumphing over an enemy depicted in the base of the lancet beneath them — David over Saul, Aaron over Pharaoh, St Anne over Synagoga , etc.
The south transept rose Two outer rings of twelve circles each contain the 24 Elders of the Apocalypse , crowned and carrying phials and musical instruments. The central lancet beneath the rose shows the Virgin carrying the infant Christ. Either side of this are four lancets showing the four evangelists sitting on the shoulders of four Prophets — a rare literal illustration of the theological principle that the New Testament builds upon the Old Testament.
This window was a donation of the Mauclerc family, the Counts of Dreux-Bretagne , who are depicted with their arms in the bases of the lancets.
On the whole, Chartres' windows have been remarkably fortunate. The medieval glass largely escaped harm during the Huguenot iconoclasm and the religious wars of the 16th century although the west rose sustained damage from artillery fire in The relative darkness of the interior seems to have been a problem for some. Although estimates vary depending on how one counts compound or grouped windows approximately of the original stained glass windows survive — far more than any other medieval cathedral anywhere in the world.
Like most medieval buildings, the windows at Chartres suffered badly from the corrosive effects of atmospheric acids during the Industrial Revolution and thereafter. The majority of windows were cleaned and restored by the famous local workshop Atelier Lorin at the end of the 19th century but they continued to deteriorate. During World War II most of the stained glass was removed from the cathedral and stored in the surrounding countryside to protect it from damage.
At the close of the war the windows were taken out of storage and reinstalled. Since then an ongoing programme of conservation has been underway and isothermal secondary glazing was gradually installed on the exterior to protect the windows from further damage. One of the few elements to survive from the midth-century church, the Portail royal was integrated into the new cathedral built after the fire.
Opening on to the parvis the large square in front of the cathedral where markets were held , the two lateral doors would have been the first entry point for most visitors to Chartres, as it remains today. The central door is only opened for the entry of processions on major festivals, of which the most important is the Adventus or installation of a new bishop.
Each of the three portals focuses on a different aspect of Christ's role; his earthly incarnation on the right, his second coming on the left and his eternal aspect in the centre. Above the right portal, the lintel is carved in two registers with lower the Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Annunciation to the Shepherds and upper the Presentation in the Temple.
Above this the tympanum shows the Virgin and Child enthroned in the Sedes sapientiae pose. Surrounding the tympanum, as a reminder of the glory days of the School of Chartres, the archivolts are carved with some very distinctive personifications of the Seven Liberal Arts as well as the classical authors and philosophers most closely associated with them. The left portal is more enigmatic and art historians still argue over the correct identification.
The tympanum shows Christ standing on a cloud, apparently supported by two angels. Some see this as a depiction of the Ascension of Christ in which case the figures on the lower lintel would represent the disciples witnessing the event while others see it as representing the Parousia , or Second Coming of Christ in which case the lintel figures could be either the prophets who foresaw that event or else the 'Men of Galilee' mentioned in Acts 1: The presence of angels in the upper lintel, descending from a cloud and apparently shouting to those below, would seem to support the latter interpretation.
The archivolts contain the signs of the zodiac and the labours of the months — standard references to the cyclical nature of time which appear in many gothic portals. The central portal is a more conventional representation of the End of Time as described in the Book of Revelation. In the centre of the tympanum is Christ within a mandorla , surrounded by the four symbols of the evangelists the Tetramorph.
The lintel shows the Twelve Apostles while the archivolts show the 24 Elders of the Apocalypse. Most obvious are the jamb statues affixed to the columns flanking the doorways — tall, slender standing figures of kings and queens from whom the Portail royal derived its name. Although in the 18th and 19th century these figures were mistakenly identified as the Merovingian monarchs of France thus attracting the opprobrium of Revolutionary iconoclasts they almost certainly represent the kings and queens of the Old Testament — another standard iconographical feature of gothic portals.
Carved into these capitals is a very lengthy narrative depicting the life of the Virgin and the life and Passion of Christ. In northern Europe it is common for the iconography on the north side of a church to focus on Old Testament themes, with stories from the lives of the saints and the Gospels being more prominent on the physically and hence, spiritually brighter southern side. Chartres is no exception to this general principle and the north transept portals, with their deep sheltering porches, concentrate on the precursors of Christ, leading up to the moment of His incarnation, with a particular emphasis on the Virgin Mary.
One major exception to this scheme is the presence of large statues of St Modesta a local martyr and St Potentian on the north west corner of the porch, close to a small doorway where pilgrims visiting the crypt where their relics were stored would once have emerged blinking into the light.
As well as the main sculptural areas around the portals themselves, the deep porches are filled with myriad other carvings depicting a range of subjects including local saints, Old Testament narratives, naturalistic foliage, fantastical beasts, Labours of the Months and personifications of the 'active and contemplative lives' the vita activa and vita contemplativa.
The personifications of the vita activa directly overhead, just inside the inside of the left hand porch are of particular interest for their meticulous depictions of the various stages in the preparation of flax — an important cash-crop in the area during the Middle Ages. The central portal concentrates on the Last Judgement and the Apostles, the left portal on the lives of martyrs and the right on confessor saints an arrangement also reflected in the windows of the apse.
Just like their northern counterparts, the south transept portals open into deep porches which greatly extend the space available for sculptural embellishment. A large number of subsidiary scenes depict conventional themes like the labours of the months and the signs of the zodiac, personifications of the virtues and vices and also further scenes from the lives of the martyrs left porch and confessors right porch.
In the Middle Ages the cathedral also functioned as an important cathedral school. In the early 11th century Bishop Fulbert established Chartres as one of the leading schools in Europe. Although the role of Fulbert himself as a scholar and teacher has been questioned, perhaps his greatest talent was as an administrator, who established the conditions in which the school could flourish, as well as laying the foundations for the rebuilding of the cathedral after the fire of These men were at the forefront of the intense intellectual rethinking that culminated in what is now known as the twelfth-century renaissance , pioneering the Scholastic philosophy that came to dominate medieval thinking throughout Europe.
By the early 12th century the status of the School of Chartres was on the wane. It was gradually eclipsed by the newly emerging University of Paris , particularly at the School of the Abbey of St Victoire the " Victorines ".
By the middle of the century the importance of Chartres Cathedral had begun to shift away from education and towards pilgrimage, a changing emphasis reflected in the subsequent architectural developments. Orson Welles famously used Chartres as a visual backdrop and inspiration for a montage sequence in his film F For Fake. Feeling that the beauty of Chartres and its unknown artisans and architects epitomized this sentiment, Welles, standing outside the cathedral and looking at it, eulogizes:.
Now this has been standing here for centuries. Naked, poor, forked radish. Ours, the scientists keep telling us, is a universe, which is disposable. You know it might be just this one anonymous glory of all things, this rich stone forest, this epic chant, this gaiety, this grand choiring shout of affirmation, which we choose when all our cities are dust, to stand intact, to mark where we have been, to testify to what we had it in us, to accomplish.
Our works in stone, in paint, in print are spared, some of them for a few decades, or a millennium or two, but everything must finally fall in war or wear away into the ultimate and universal ash. The triumphs and the frauds, the treasures and the fakes. A fact of life.
Our songs will all be silenced — but what of it? Joseph Campbell references his spiritual experience in The Power of Myth:. I'm back in the Middle Ages. I'm back in the world that I was brought up in as a child, the Roman Catholic spiritual-image world, and it is magnificent That cathedral talks to me about the spiritual information of the world. It's a place for meditation, just walking around, just sitting, just looking at those beautiful things. Chartres was the primary basis for the fictional Cathedral in David Macaulay 's Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction and the animated special based on this book.
Chartres was a major character in the religious thriller Gospel Truths by J. The book used the Cathedral's architecture and history as clues in the search for a lost Gospel. The cathedral is featured in the television travel series The Naked Pilgrim ; presenter Brian Sewell explores the cathedral and discusses its famous relic — the nativity cloak said to have been worn by the Virgin Mary.
Popular action-adventure video game Assassin's Creed features a climbable cathedral modeled heavily on the Chartres Cathedral. One of the attractions at the Chartres Cathedral is the Chartres Light Celebration, when not only is the cathedral lit, but so are many buildings throughout the town, as a celebration of electrification.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
October Learn how and when to remove this template message. Retrieved 1 February New York, , p. The Thirteenth Century , Princeton , p. Retrieved 22 April The World of Chartres. Die vorromanische Ostanlage , Berlin A History, 7th ed. Pearson Prentice Hall , Sources and Literary Interpretations.
The Master Masons of Chartres. London; New York; Chartres; Sydney. Welborn Barton Griffith, Jr. Military Times, a Gannett Company. Archived from the original on 18 January Retrieved 10 May The Distinguished Service Cross was awarded posthumously for saving the cathedral.
Retrieved 11 May Chartres Cathedral caught in clean-up row". World Heritage Sites in France. Banks of the Seine Provins. Roman Theatre and environs , Triumphal Arch.
Retrieved from " https: Articles containing French-language text Coordinates on Wikidata All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from December Pages containing citation needed template with deprecated parameters Articles with unsourced statements from February Articles with unsourced statements from April Articles with unsourced statements from January Articles with unsourced statements from November Articles with unsourced statements from May Articles with unsourced statements from September Articles needing additional references from October All articles needing additional references Commons category link is locally defined Use dmy dates from April Wikipedia articles with GND identifiers Wikipedia articles with NKC identifiers Wikipedia articles with VIAF identifiers Wikipedia articles with WorldCat-VIAF identifiers.
Coronation of the Virgin. Job on the Dunghill. Personifications of the Virtues and Vices. The martyrdom by stoning of St Stephen. The weighing of souls and separation of the blessed and the damned. Life of St Giles in lower register, other Confessors in the remaining voussoirs.