Friday, May 31, 2013

Noyon Cathedral

Those (Tawana, Wes) following us on the Cathedral trail know that the next stop would be Noyon, another transitional Gothic. Noyon is in the Oise, WWI country, still not very far from Paris. Vicki's distant and dubious relation, Robert Louis Stevenson, praised Noyon's cathedral in his An Inland Journey.
West facade; the symmetry ends here...there
are many out-buildings, including a large
refectory adjacent to the north side of the west
porch; Noyon is pretty old for a Gothic,

There's hardly a grain of sculpture at Noyon;
all removed, presumably by the masses
during the Revolution; except for a few

Knave view; note alternating piers and columns; the vault
originally was of the earlier six-part style, with the alternating
arrangement; after a fire way back in 1293, it was replaced
with the by-then standard four-part

Elevation: interesting! relatively large aisles,
galleries, blind triforium, smallish clerestory
windows; we've seen few Gothics with
galleries. one of the first Romanesque
features to go

Perhaps Noyon's most interesting facet is its
use of rounded transept ends; virtually all
Romanesques and Gothics have rounded
apses--that's how the Romans built their
basilicas, which the Christians mostly copied;
this is the north transept; rounded

There's some nice-looking glass, but it's not
what you come here's the architecture

Looking from altar back to the west

Apse and altar view

Interesting  (to me) sculpture department: Joan of Arc was
converted from witch to saint only in the 20th century; well,
yes, she spent several hundred years merely as a martyr;
the sculpture here presumably depicts a "sacred
conversation" involving her and the then-pope and his
assistants; life-sized too

Ditto; she was canonized in 1920; the English
might have objected, but they no longer had
privilege of the floor; so to speak; that's a joke,

We are now in the cloister adjoining the church and
refectory, admiring a very old well and then noting that the
arches supporting the vaulting above are listing seriously 
to port; we decided to move on to the cathedral's exterior

From the south; note the severe right angles
on the towers; Noyon has plenty of  integral
buttresses, but flying buttresses only at the
apse I think

High on the south-side apse, about the only exterior
sculpture remaining

This is/was the chapter library, adjoining the cathedral; built
of wood, resting on a wall; dated 1506; personally, I like
storing my books in less fire-prone situations; but this one
has indeed stood the test of time

Carving on a library pier; no termites, either

The old-fashioned way...paving a drive-way in Noyon

A pretty town; most of it post-WWI...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Senlis Cathedral

The aire in Beauvais was OK and free and just across from a shopping center with a super-duper-marche and cafe and many other shoppes. I was in heaven. Also a cheap lavarie where I did the wash. So we spent an extra day, a productive administrative day, despite lack of wifi. Vicki did research for further journeys. Next morning we drove on, in threatening clouds and cold (it's late May) to Senlis and the first of the day's two transitional Gothic cathedrals. Senlis, north of Paris, was an important center in the earlier Middle Ages. Paris' bishop reported to Senlis' bishop for some time, and the bishops of Senlis crowned the kings of France. Or maybe that was Sens.* Anyway...
Senlis cathedral, yet another Notre Dame, begun in the mid-
12th and finished before the 13th; then, as we'll see,
remodeled extensively (fires, etc.) in later Gothic; from the
south; flying buttresses all around the apse

The big south tower

Interior, nave, looking to the east and the burst of brilliance
there...[interlude for theological reflection]...; I like to refer
 to this as the knave view

South rose window

Crossing; under nets; interestingly, the older ribbed
vaulting is fine, but the later Gothic add-on ornaments,
hanging down off the ceilings, are crumbling; thus the

Elevation: big aisles, big galleries, no triforia,
not-so-big clerestory windows; an earlier
stage in transition

And, as in the previous shot, the really cool thing to note
at Senlis is the use of alternating columns (classical
columns, with Corinthian capitals) with big Medieval piers;
sort of a Romanesque/Gothic/Romanesque/Gothic
arrangement; originally related to the vaulting, requiring
a heavy support/medium support alternation, this pattern
quickly died out, with uniform large piers replacing it

Ceiling of the large south-side chapel of St. Anonymous;
note the huge later Gothic down-hanging ornamentation
thingie (there's a name for this, I am sure, and I must add
it to the inventory already cluttering my mind); anyhow,
this one is relatively low-down and evidently not
deteriorating like the one's high up that require nets

There is a fair amount of nice glass, later Medieval-looking,
higher up

E.g., Susanna and the Dirty Old Men

Looking into a crypt, dated 1000AD, burial site for SS
Gervais and Prothais

Starboard portal

West facade; the north tower was eaten by
termites, according to the Condemnations
of 1277, which was taken as a sign that...

West typanum and earlier Gothic sculpture;
another life of Mary

By the mid 13th century, Medieval sculpture was beginning
to show motion and emotion; note particularly the jamb-
statue on the right, a St. John I think, who seems to be
saying "Hurry up! I have to go...!"

Adjacent to the cathedral is a good bit of earlier Medieval
and even Gallo-Roman ruins; here, bits of a royal chapel

Then, as we were walking back to the
camper, the storm finally hit, rain and then
wintry mix; we ducked under an old wall
and noticed the sign, which reads "Rempart
Gallo-Romain IIIe Siecle"

I was trying to shoot the hail bouncing off
the roof of the building across the street...
Goth'Ink is a tattoo shop

Pea-size hail accumulating on our wind-shield

*Further research has shown that it was indeed Sens that was superior to Paris, bishoprically.... We'll get there next fall.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Beauvais: Saint-Etienne Windows

Because of collapsing vaults and revolutions and wars, etc., there is not much stained glass to see in Beauvais, but there are at least a few very nice Renaissance pieces at St. Stephens, most done by one Engrand Le Prince.
Great color

Great demons; feeding miscreants into the
Mouth of Hell

Great light on the floor

Which Vicki loves

More hell and damnation; we are both very sure we have
seen the guy on the right before, in stone, somewhere...
Orvieto? PS Well, not exactly, but close: see the last item of

Curious subject and pose

Ditto; hacking up a sarcaphogus?

Upper branches of the ever popular Tree of

Another nice demon

St. Martin, or possibly someone else, giving
a piece of his cloak to a beggar

Interior of the WHEEL! OF! FORTUNE!!!!!!

And, walking down crypt-ward to the tomb of some
locally-important saint (St. Firmin actually spent the night
in Beauvais; in prison), a nice Eviction

Beauvais: Church of Saint-Etienne

There was another church of interest in Beauvais, the older church of St. Stephen, begun in the early 1100s, and clearly showing the transition from Romanesque to Gothic. It is said to be the place where ribbed vaulting began, "Norman" in this case, but I did not see much difference between here and the Plantagenet vaulting we saw a couple weeks back. The difference in ceiling height between Romanesque and Gothic at St. Stephens is 12 meters! But the Gothic choir is much younger than the Norman nave. Whatever...
St.Etienne in Beavais, west facade; the
typanum is a Mary coronation; the
Revolution was not kind to this church

Nave shot

Nave vaulting and elevation; blind triforium,
tiny clerestory windows

Crossing; note the difference in height, nave versus choir

Looking into choir...

And its fancy later Gothic ribbing...

Aisle view

Interesting interior staircase at the transept

South transept; the north transept has a rose
window, well, actually a "wheel of fortune"
we'll see from the outside

Here's the view where you can really see the difference:
under the c rossing, just into the north transept; on the
left, the fancy later Gothic ribbing and the huge lancet
windows; on the right, the much lower Norman vaulting
with its much smaller clerestory windows

Outside the north transept...WHEEL! OF! FORTUNE!!!!!!!
(it's in the sculpture around the window, depicting the
transience of material possessions...