Lect. 34 _11/14/11

The Legacy of the High Gothic Achievement: the Rayonnant Mode
I. Perfection of the High Gothic Cathedral in the Rayonnant style
High Gothic (1195-1230) = period of unresolved experimentation
Reims Cathedral, 1211-90
Bourges Cathedral, 1211-90
Perfection lies in a new visionary period = Rayonnant style (1230-1350)
Amiens Cathedral (Nôtre-Dame), Amiens, France, 1220-1269
I. A. Context: French king the pre-eminent ruler in Western Europe in 1200
French King Philip-Augustus (r. 1180-1223)
Nôtre-Dame, Paris
façade design 1200-10
I. A. 1. Long reign of Louis IX (1226-1270), St. Louis, makes Paris a cultural capital
The Ste.-Chapelle (Holy Chapel), commissioned by Louis IX for the Royal Palace, Paris
I. A. 2. Start of the new court style, Rayonnant (“radiating”), with the rebuilding of St.-Denis’ upper
choir, nave and transept in 1231
Abbey church of St.-Denis, Paris, 1231-50
St.-Denis – upper choir, b. 1231
St.-Denis – north transept, b. 1250
I. B. Formal analysis and modernist structure: In what ways is Amiens Cathedral still like the classic
design of Chartres?
Amiens Cathedral, 1220-1269, first architect Robert de Luzarches
an elevational system rather than
a true wall
I. B.
Early Christian
S. Sabina
Speyer Cathedral
Amiens Cathedral
I. B.
Chartres Cathedral
Amiens Cathedral
piers taller & wider apart but similar thickness
I. C. Rayonnant style – qualities of a new visionary aesthetic in an influential new phase of Gothic
Abbey church of St Nicaise, Reims, France, b. 1231
Decorative vocabulary becomes architectural
(gables, crockets, small pinnacles)
Mixture of blind and open tracery
I. C. 1. extreme verticality
steeply proportioned
High Gothic cathedrals: comparative height and design of buttressing
I. C. 1.
continuous vault responds
Amiens Cathedral – nave
St.-Denis – nave
I. C. 2. virtually autonomous arching structures instead of wall
bar tracery – intensely modernist device
plate tracery = pierced stone
bar tracery = Rayonnant style
Amiens Cathedral – rose window on south transept
Chartres Cathedral
I. C. 3. Extreme structural lightness
screening effects like superimposed tracery
Amiens Cathedral
screening effects – clerestory mullions
extend into triforium
I. C. 3.
Amiens Cathedral
St.-Denis, Paris, 1231-50
I. C. 4. extreme levels of illumination
Lowered roof over the aisle
vaults makes a glazed
triforium possible
glazed triforium
Amiens Cathedral
II. Gothic façade – confronting a new design problem
Early Christian
Santa Sabina
Speyer Cathedral
Amiens Cathedral
Chartres Cathedral
(façade begun as Romanesque)
Amiens Cathedral
(Rayonnant Gothic façade)
II. A. How is a unified Gothic exterior articulated all around the building?
Amiens Cathedral
II. A. 1. How does the facade reconcile twin-towered idea with basilical section of the building?
Amiens Cathedral
II. A. 1. Portals: encyclopedic story of the Christian salvation.
Amiens Cathedral
II. A. 1.
Amiens Cathedral
Zodiac and Labors of the Months
II. C. 2.
IV. Symbolic architecture in the Gothic (medieval modernist) style
Ste-Chapelle (palace chapel of French kings), Paris, France,1241-48
IV. A. What are the components of this palatine chapel for the French monarch?
about the Ste-Chapelle
IV. A.
Ste-Chapelle, Upper Chapel
Ste-Chapelle, Lower Chapel
IV. B. 2.
does the Ste-Chapelle epitomize the French Gothic Court or Rayonnant style in terms of:
1. interior elevation?
steeply proportioned
continuous vault responds
IV. B. 3. elevational system and buttressing?
20.5 m.
IV. B. 3.
St Nicaise, Reims, France, 1231
Decorative vocabulary becomes architectural
(gables, crockets, small pinnacles)
IV. B. 4. tracery?
bar tracery – intensely modernist device
IV. C. How did the designers give the king and his entourage the sensation that they hovered in the
heavens (clerestory)?
Chartres Cathedral
dado zone
IV. C.
Chartres Cathedral
nave arcade
IV. D. Symbolism . . . 1. How did Paris become the “New Jerusalem” and what role did the Ste-Chapelle play?
Gauthier Cornut: “There can be no doubt that . . . the true Solomon (i.e., Louis IX), the peacemaker,
proceeds to a second incarnation.”
Nôtre-Dame Cathedral
Holy Sepulchre
Temple of Solomon
IV. D. 2. What relics was it built to house?
Pope Innocent IV: “The Lord has crowned you (Louis IX) with His Crown of Thorns.”
Passion relics on display in the shrine
Passion relics on display
IV. D. 3. What church furnishing did the Ste.-Chapelle aggrandize?
Romanesque reliquary
of Ste.-Foi
a Gothic reliquary
IV. D. 4. How did the materials and ornament make the case for Louis IX as the rightful king of
Ste-Chapelle dado zone: Christ’s first soldiers represented enamels and stone
Early martyrs in the dado zone
IV. D. 4.
Christ’s first soldiers (Apostles) in stone as transition zone
Apostles as pillars of the church
IV. D. 4.
Passion relics hover in clerestorey (“from the material to the immaterial”)
Translation of the Passion
relics into Paris by Louis IX
IV. D. 4.
Louis IX hovers in clerestorey (“from the material to the immaterial”)
worships false
idol of his wives
Louis IX brings
Passion relics to

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