chapter  22
8 Pages

The Cathedral of Beauvais

WithWhitney S. Stoddard

Beauvais was begun after the great cathedrals of Chartres, Bourges, Reims, and Amiens. Only the choir and transepts of Saint-Pierre of Beauvais were finished; the vaults of the choir collapsed in 1284; the crossing tower fell in 1573. The master of Beauvais combined ideas derived from these earlier monuments with innovations of his own to create a new synthesis. The rebuilding of Beauvais after 1284, however, makes it difficult to reconstruct the original design. The nave of the Carolingian church of Beauvais, the Basse-Oeuvre, still stands. Its choir was destroyed in the sixteenth century so that the crossing and transepts of the existing cathedral could be constructed. The plan of Beauvais is practically identical with that of Amiens. Both cathedrals have a single ambulatory with a set of radiating chapels. The treatment of the triforium-clerestory of the inner aisle and ambulatory of Beauvais is, however, completely different from the design of Bourges and Le Mans.