Iconography on Chartres Cathedral
I chose to look at Chartres, & more directly the Rose windows. In Paris from 1140-1240 C.E. there were 10 cathedrals in Europe; Cathedral Notre-Dame de Chartres was finished in 1260(although some report that it was finished between 1235 & 1240) & a Roman Catholic Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary & John the Baptist back in the 13th century. For more of a background the Latin Cross floor plan, nave, choir & transepts meet at the cathedral's' central crossing. 3 pointed arches create a rib vault for more spacious interiors; giving a greater impression of height to it. Flying buttresses on the outside were arch shaped supports which put the immense weight into the ground to support the walls.
In being dedicated to Mary & John the Baptist, the Catholic Church used the cathedral itself & the windows to portray the story of the Bible, the figures in the story & the meanings behind it.
For the windows - the stained glass helped "create a multi-colored & gem like interior to invoke the Heavenly Jerusalem" as said in the book of Revelation (from mod 10 reading- symbols & iconography). There are 176 windows total in Chartres; 3 of them Rose windows.
According to sacred-destination.com, there are 158 - 170 total windows from early in the 13th century which escaped destruction front he religious wars in the 16th century. The West window is early 13th century & the 3 lancets are c. 1150. These are on the Last Judgment. The Rose itself is Christ surrounded by 4 Evangelists & angels, some blasting trumpet; resurrection, judgment, heaven & hell are a part of what's portrayed. The left lancet is about Passion & Resurrection; middle is Incarnation & right one is Jesse.
The North Rose - has 5 lancets & these were a gift from Queen Blanche of Castille in 1230. The Rose is the Glorification of the Virgin; Virgin & Child with angels & doves surrounding them; Old Testament Kings & Prophets. The Lancets are from left to right – Melchizadek & King Saul, Kings David & Jeroboam, St. Anne & infant, Mary with arms of Royal House of France, King Solomon & Nebuchadnezzar & finally Aaron & Pharaoh.
The South Rose – also with 5 lancers is from the late 1230’s. The Rose itself is the Glorification of Christ. Christ is surrounded by 4 Evangelists & angels; elders of Apocalypse; arms of donors to the cathedral. Lancers are from left to right- Evangelist Luke over prophet Jeremiah, Evangelist Matthew over prophet Isiah, the Virgin & Child, and Evangelist John over prophet Ezekiel & Evangelist Mark over Prophet Daniel.
Wikipedia.org has a slightly different take on the windows & meanings. For the West, it’s agreed that it’s about the Last Judgment, which is said to be traditionally the theme for direction, but the center is Christ as Judge, & the outer rings as the dead emerging from their tombs & angels summoning the judgment.
North has the kings in 12 diamond openings, followed by the coat of arms of France & Castille as separate entities & last the Old Testimate prophets holding scrolls. Sign of patronage are the Kings’ shown by yellow fleur-de-lis on blue background & his mother, Blanche of Castille, as the yellow castles on a red backing.
Chartres - An example of French Gothic Architecture
© 2014 Jennifer B