Friday, April 07, 2006

C/hartres (inside)

This is just a small selection of my photos, and of the cathedral... it was really like a small stone city unto itself.

Barrel vaulting of wood ribs covered by stone. The circular joints are hollow, so their covers can be removed to air out the church if it got smelly and odoriferous from all the people in the middle ages who turned areas of the nave into a marketplace--since it was under the church's control, the king's taxes couldn't be imposed on goods bought or sold in here--or if it filled up with too much incense.

This is the Sancta Camisia, the Virgin Mary's tunic. It was considered to protect the town, and in fact whenever Chartres was besieged, the defenders would hang it on the town's defensive walls before battle. Apparently it worked.

It used to be kept in a closed container, so people thought the Virgin Mary had a shirt with sleeves on it. But no, it's a wrap, a length of silk cloth that has been carbon dated by scientists as coming from the appropriate time period.

This is one of the few medieval labyrinths to survive the changing fashions of church interiors. It's a meditation device inlaid into the floor (unfortunately we showed up the day after a very big group of pilgrims came through, so chairs are temporarily covering part of it). Unlike a maze, a medieval labyrinth has only one path for the devotee to follow. The exact uses of the labyrinth are unknown because no descriptions have survived in manuscripts, but it was once a widespread motif...the cathedral had Reims had a more complex one with towers in the corner, but the round labyrinth at Chartres is considered one of the more perfect designs.

me and another mystery at the bottom of the frame, him to the right.

Roseoles, so beautiful. Chartres must have been a very complex mnemonic device for monks at the school of Chartres, which was made famous by Fulbert for its advanced teachings in mathematics and logic as well as theology.

to give yourself a sense of scale, look at the chairs...

Looking behind us down the stairwell of the clocher du nord, the flamboyant Gothic tower...


Anonymous dbv said...

I remain in favor of photographs of the feet of anonymous people.

10:51 AM  

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