chapter  26
22 Pages

Rayonnant Architecture

WithWhitney S. Stoddard

With the pronounced differences between High Gothic and fifteenth-century Flamboyant Gothic in mind, it is necessary to discuss the Rayonnant monuments which exhibit new directions in design in the 1230’s and the 1240’s. One of the earliest examples of the Rayonnant style is comprised by the new superstructure of the choir, the transepts, and the nave of Saint-Denis. Perhaps the purest Rayonnant structure is the Sainte-Chapelle, the palace chapel on the lle-de-la-Cite in Paris. The fully developed Rayonnant style came into being in Paris and its environs. It then spread north and northeast to Beauvais, Amiens, and Strasbourg, eastward to Troyes and Burgundy, and south to the Midi. The church of Saint-Urbain at Troyes illustrated the creative evolution of Rayonnant ideas in Champagne. Even though Rayonnant originated in the Paris area, the Parisian Rayonnant underwent an unusual sea change in style when it penetrated the provinces, as the plan, interior, and exterior of Saint-Urbain reveals.