The traditional site for the coronation of kings, and where all of the royals were buried – make this building very important for France.
There are radiating apses above the chapels.
There are crypts and tombs where the relics would be kept – there were niches in the wall where other saint’s relics would be kept.
The result of a technological innovation in artistic design
There is an ambulatory around the main altar – all of the individual chapels are completely open and accessible to the public. The walls are supported by columns allowing free views into the areas.
Two types of vaulting systems: The Domical vault, with ribs places underneath it, involves spanning the area between two piers or two columns with a semi-circular arch. The arches are higher, making it have an irregular shape. These arches makes the space much more enclosed and darker. Pointed arches called ogival – advantage is that they can be opened up much more.
The opening up of space allows for the use of colored lights to fill up the space.
There is a new understanding of the role of the entranceway – the portals
Almost as if a competition goes on between the 12th and 13th century – each city is competing to build the largest and tallest church.
Areas of sculptural emphasis – a new type of images is shown on the columns placed on the door areas. The first time sculptural figures are attached to columns. Shows imageries of the fulfillment of prophets from the Old Testament.
Sculptures are highly individualized and naturalistic. Their facial features are reminiscent of the archaic smile.
Change in style as it evolves in the gothic period. The figures are no longer so linear and confined to the exact form of the column itself. They stand in their own space and seem to interact in their spacial environments.
Many of the large scale cathedrals were often dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The concept of churches tends to evolve in the Gothic period – and involves a very uniform design. There is a design of a three portal design – in an attempt to create a light sense of architecture. A main element of gothic design is the extemely large central circular window – called the rose window
Practical design – flying buttresses, a way of creating interior space, since more focus is on the interior during this period.
Since this is a small building, it does not need flying buttresses to support it.
Gothic architecture in France in the 12th and 13th centuries
Term “Gothic” coined by Giorgio Vasari (16th century) Origins of Gothic architecture are found in the area around Paris, the Île-de-France, ca. 1140 Issues: 12th-13th centuries: Society: growth of cities; prosperity of merchants; founding of universities 14th-15thcenturies: Plague: “black death”, 14th century War: 1337 beginning of Hundred Years’ War Politics: Great Schism 1378-1417
Abbey church of Saint-Denis, outside Paris, France. Gothic rebuilding 1140s under Abbot Suger
Romanesque church of Saint-Sernin, Toulouse, France 1070-1120
Romanesque church of Saint-Sernin, Toulouse, France 1070-1120 Detail of exterior and interior of ambulatory and chapels
Saint-Sernin, Toulouse 1070s Saint-Denis, Paris 1140s
Choir of abbey church of Saint-Denis, 1140s Dedicating the church in 1144, Abbot Suger describes the manner in which the choir shone 'with the wonderful and uninterrupted light of most sacred windows, pervading the interior beauty'
Abbey church of Saint-Denis, outside Paris, France. Gothic reconstruction 1140s
Romanesque Portal Abbey Church at Moissac, France, 1100
Gothic portal: Royal Portal on the west façade of Chartres Cathedral, France, ca. 1145-1155
Royal Portal on the west façade of Chartres Cathedral, France, ca. 1145-1155. Detail shows Old Testament kings and queen jamb statues
Increasing naturalism in Gothic sculpture: Left: Old Testament kings and queen jamb statues from Royal Portal at Chartres, ca. 1145 Right: Saints Martin, Jerome, and Gregory, jamb statues from Porch of the Confessors, Chartres, ca. 1220
Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Paris, France, 1163 – ca. 1220. Note rose window and tracery
Notre-Dame, Paris, France, 1163 – ca. 1220: Stained glass windows and sexpartite ribbed vaulting
Notre-Dame, Paris, France, 1163 – ca. 1220: South rose window Hugh of Saint-Victor (Parisian theologian, d. 1142): “Stained-glass windows are the Holy Scriptures … and since their brilliance lets the splendor of the True Light pass into the church, they enlighten those inside.”
Notre-Dame, Paris, France, 1163 – ca. 1220 South façade: flying buttresses