1250-1400: Northern Sculpture 1

As there are so many ways to examine a building (west, north and south facades each often with three portals and each portal with a typanum, left and right jamb) I have shown some representative slides and links to websites that have a complete set of pictures. The cathedral sequence is:

  • St Denis
  • Autun
  • Notre Dame
  • Senlis
  • Laon
  • Chatres
  • Wells
  • Reims

A set of small slides is here http://www.owlnet.rice.edu/~hart205/Gothic/ndx.html. A group of cathedral tours with many, many pictures is here http://www.newyorkcarver.com/cathedrallinks2.htm

St Denis

Slide 1: St Denis ambulatory

Slide 2: St Denis west front

Slide 3: St Denis west facade

Slide 4: St Denis west front jamb figures by Montfaucon

Slide 5: St Denis west front north tympanum(image not found)

Slide 6: St Denis west front south tympanum

Christ administers the Eucharist to Saint Denis and his companions on the eve of the Martrydom. To the left of the central scene: Larcia, who denounced them to the Roman Prefect and was later converted: Two executioners To the right of the central scene: the Roman Counsel Fescinius (or Sisinnius) and attendant. Inner Archivolt:

  • bottom: Executioners
  • middle: Saint Denis to the Right and his companions to the Left
  • top: Descending Angel holding the crown of martyrdom

Outer Archivolt: God the Father and angels


Slide 7: Autun tympanum Last Judgement


The Last Judgement, Christ in mandorla and devils taking souls to hell. Autun Cathedral

Notre Dame

Slide 8: Notre Dame west front south Virgin and child(image not found)

Slide 9: Notre Dame St Annes portal

Notre Dame west facade south (right) St. Anne portal


Slide 10: Senlis jamb figures


Slide 11: Senlis jamb figures right

Slide 12: Senlis Coronation of the Virgin


Slide 13: Laon west facade


Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Laon; France, Laon; about 1160-1235

  • Cathedral of Notre-Dame at Laon, 130km northwest from Paris, has one of the great early Gothic style as well as Notre-Dame at Paris.
  • The cathdral of Notre-Dame was established in the end of fifth century but burned in 1112.
    The reconstruction of the choir and transepts began about 1160 and completed in 1174. The reconstruction started again about 1180 and after 1205, the completion of the nave, the orginal choir was replaced by the greatly lengthened present-day choir in 1215.
    The west facade was completed about 1220.
  • The seven towers were pland originaly but only five towers were constructed
  • The west facade has deep sculpted windows and small arcade making use of thick wall and three deep porches. Moreover, twin towers accentuated by deep apertures and the completely hollowed-out upper levels of the towers are composing peculiar solid facade.
  • Villard de Honnecourt, thirteenth century architect, marveled at these towers and draw them in 1230.
  • The buttresses divide vertically and then the center part rises up with the center porch, the rose window and small arcade dynamically.
  • This west facade has influenced High Gothic and German cathedral.


The following websites have a lot of Chartres images:


Slide 14: Wells cathedral west facade


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