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The Early Gothic facade was all that remained after the fire of 1194. The design still has much in common with Romanesque facades. the window is an example of plate tracery.

Royal Portal, west facade,Chartres Cathedral

The sculptures of the Royal Portal proclaim the majesty and power of Christ. The tympana depict, from right to left, Christ's Ascension, the Second Coming, and Jesus in the lap of the Virgin Mary.

Old Testament Kings and Queens, jamb statues, central doorway of Royal Portal, Chartres Cathedral

The biblical kings and queensof the Royal Portal are the royal ancestors of Christ. These Early-Gothic statue columns show the first signs of new naturalism in European sculpture.

flying buttresses

masonry struts that transfer the thrust of nave vaults across the roofs of the side aisles and ambulatory to a tall pier rising above the churches exterior wall

diagonal rib

One of the ribs that form the x in the groin vault.

transverse rib

One of the ribs that crosses the nave at a 90 degree angle


The lowest stone of an arch, resting on the impost block. In Gothic vaulting, the lowest stone of a diagonal or transverse rib.


The fenestrated part of a building that rises above the roofs of the other parts. In Roman basilicas and medieval churches, the windows that form the nave's uppermost level below the timber ceiling or the vaults.


In a Gothic cathedral, the blind arcade gallery below the clerestory; occasionally, the arcades are filled with stained glass

nave arcade

the series of arches supported by piers seperating the nave from the side aisles

compound pier

a pier with a group, or cluster, of attached shafts, especially characteristic of Gothic architecture

Aerial view of Chartres Cathedral, Chartres France

Architectural historians consider the rebuilt Chratres Cathedral to be the first great monument of High Gothic architecture. It is the first church to have been planned from the beginning with flying buttresses.

Plan of Chartres Cathedral, Chartres, France

The Chartres Plan, in which a singe square in each aisle flanks a single rectangular unit in the nave with a four part vault, became the norm for High Gothic church architecture

Interior of Chartres Cathedral, Chartres, France

High Gothic churches consisted of nave arcade, triforium, and clerestory with stained glasses almost as tall as the main arcade

Virgin and Child and angels, detail of a window in the choir of Chartres Cathedral, Chartres France

This stained glass window has an armature of iron bands that forms a grid over the whole design, an Early Gothic characteristic

Detail of stained glass rose window north transept Chartres Cathedral


Saints Martin, Jerome and Gregory, jamb statues, Porch if the confessors, south transept, Chartres Cathedral

In contrast to the Royal Portal statues, these south-transept statues have individual personalities and turn slightly to the left or right, breaking the rigid vertical lines of there 12th century predecessors.

Saint Theodore, jamb statue, Porch of the Martyrs, south transept, Chartres Cathedral

The High Gothic sculptor portrayed the saint swinging out one hip as in Greek statuary.

Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France

the concept of self sustaining architecture reached full maturity at Amiens Cathedral. The four part High Gothic vaults on pointed arches rises an astounding 144 ft above the nave floor

vaults, clerestory, and triforium of the choir of Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France

The sunlight entering from the clerestory creates the effect of a buoyant lightness not normally associated with stone architecture. (reminiscent of the Hagia Sofia)

West Facade of Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France

Sculptors covered the facade with colonnettes, pinnacles, and rosettes that nearly dissolve the structures solid core.

Interior of the upper chapel, Sainte-Chapelle, Paris. France

At Louis IX's Sainte-Chapelle, the architect succeeded in dissolving the walls to such an extent that the 6,450 sq. ft. of stained glass account for more than tree quarters of the Rayonnant Gothic structure.

Abraham and the three angels,folio 7 verso of the Psalter of Saint Louis, from Paris, France

The architectural setting in the Psalter of Saint Louis reflect the screen like lightness and transparency of royal buildings such as Saint-Chapelle. The colors emulate those of stained glass.

Virgin of Jeanne d'Evreux, from abbey church of Saint Denis, France

Queen Jeanne d'Evreux donated this luxurious reliquary-statuette to the royal abbey church of Saint Denis. The intimate human characterization of the holy figures recalls that of the Virgin of Paris

Virgin with the Dead Christ(Rottgen Pieta) from Rhineland, Germany

This ppieta is meant to make the viewer mourn with the virgin, to emphasize.

Nicholas of Verdun, Shrine of the Three Kings, from Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany

Cologne's archbishop commisioned this huge reliquary in the shape of a church to house relics of the three magi.

Nicola Pisano, pulpit of the baptistery, Pisa, Italy

Pisano's baptisery retains many medieval design elements, for example, the trefoil arches and the lions supporting columns, but the panels draw on ancient Roman sarcophagus reliefs.

Nicola Pisano, Annunciation, Nativity, and Adoration of the Shepherds, relief panel on the baptistery pulpit, Pisa, Italy

Classical sculpture inspired the face types, beards, coiffures and draperies, as well as the bulk and weight of Nicola's figures. The Madonna of the Nativity resembles lid figures on Roman sarcophagi

Giovanni Pisano Annunciation, Nativity, and Adoration of the Shepherds, relief panel on the pulpit of Sant' Andrea, Pistoia, Italy

The French Gothic style had a greater influence on Giovanni. He arranged his figures loosely and dynamically. They display a nervous agitation, as if moved by spiritual passion

Cimabue, Madonna Enthroned with Angels and Prophets, from Santa Trinita, Florence, Italy

Cimabue was one of the first artists to break away from the Italo- Byzantine style. Although he relied on Byzantine models, Cimabue depicted the Madonna's massive throne as receding into space.

West facade, Chartres Cathedral

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