chapter  24
24 Pages

High Gothic Sculpture and Painting

WithWhitney S. Stoddard

Just as the master builders of Chartres, Bourges, Reims, and Amiens used the past as authority and created a new High Gothic architecture, so the sculptors of the thirteenth-century portals synthesized divergent ideas to develop a new Christian classicism of great dignity and power. This chapter concentrates on the transept portals of Chartres and the façades of Amiens and Reims. It includes analysis of four Coronations of the Virgin of different size and in different media and two of the stained-glass windows at Chartres. The transepts of Chartres Cathedral were carved some fifty years after the Royal Portals of the west façade. After the fire of 1194, work commenced on the single central portal of the north transept, probably as early as 1204. The majestic poise, classic grandeur, and spiritual calm of monumental High Gothic sculpture are revealed with equal clarity in small objects such as the superb reliquary of Saint Stephen in The Cloisters, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.