chapter  21
12 Pages

The Cathedral of Bourges

WithWhitney S. Stoddard

The master of Bourges evolved a completely different kind of High Gothic, and the influence of Bourges, second only to that of Chartres can be seen in a series of cathedrals in northwestern and western France and Spain. Robert Branner points up the uniqueness of Bourges and its importance in the main stream of Gothic architecture. Branner divides the major campaign into three phases. The first Bourges architect utilized the plan of the Cathedral of Paris as the major inspiration, as can be seen from the double aisles of the crypt and choir above and the original disposition of double ambulatory without radiating chapels. The second major campaign at Bourges, begun around 1225, follows a procedure similar to the system employed in the chevet: first, exterior of aisles of the nave. The third Bourges master, according to Branner, thickened the construction of the nave walls and eliminated metal reinforcements which had been utilized in the choir.