chapter  29
8 Pages

Late Gothic Sculpture

WithWhitney S. Stoddard

The clear separation of zones and elevation, characteristic of High Gothic architecture, dissolves into dynamic all-over surface patterns. In the Gothic portal from Moutiers-Saint-Jean of the 1260’s, the tympanum of the Coronation of the Virgin crowns the whole portal, while Kings Clovis and Clothar, as patrons of the monastery, dominate the jambs. In contrast to the vertical axes of High Gothic portals, the main axis of this Flamboyant portal is horizontal. The High Gothic preoccupation with harmony of architecture and sculpture here gives way to a preoccupation with the drama of the specific and human event. The figures of the Virgin and Child are not contained within the silhouette of the trumeau block, as they would have been in Early and High Gothic sculpture. The dominance of sculpture over architecture is in marked contrast to the balanced emphasis on sculpture and architectural forms in High Gothic portals such as the transepts of Chartres and the Amiens façade.