Saturday, May 25, 2013

Chartres Again

The more I read about this cathedral the more the mystery deepens, and there is nothing quite like a good mystery  and I know I have scratched only a miniscule portion of the mystery ( so there is a lot of reading to be done yet- and exploring). As an artist I am trying to work out exactly what it is that forms the fascination, the mystery for me- and drawn I am to this  wondrous cathedral. The site of the church is ancient and said to go back to druidic times.It is a church devoted to Our Lady and it houses a black Madonna. The current form of the cathedral was built after the late romanesque/very early gothic catherdral burnt down  in 1194. The remains of the earlier catherdral comprise the western or royal portal, some of the stained glass and in particular the "Charteres blue", the composition of which colour has not as yet been identified and one of the bell towers.It is known that the catherdral devoted itself to the seven liberal arts: Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Astronomy and to the feminine- there is at least 400 representations of the feminine. It is thought that the sculptures of the western portal were done by the same sculptors who  sculpted the Figures ( now all destroyed except one ) of the Imperial Abbaye Saint Denis. The cathedral  was rebuilt after the fire of 1194 at a remarkable pace- about 24 years and  appears to have been funded through the efforts of the Knights Templar, though the residents were very heavily taxed which did result in some riots. One of the portals is entirely dedicated to alchemy .So a selection of images to maybe tantalise....

Patterning- everywhere you look there is pattern and texture- carved in stone it is almost as if it's textile.

 There are all the signs of the zodiace on the western portal. I notice on the one  on the right there is also a crocodile. I know in Nimes there's a church devoted to the crocodile and there is also a small church near Mantova that has a crocodile suspended from the ceiling- I have always wondered what they meant?

And of course there is the labyrinth- it's centre of recent fabrication ( i believe there as an archealogical dig done  in the centre ) and as you can see this is only the centre of the labyrinth as it is covered by chairs most days ( except fridays) to stop people from  walking or is it crawling the path?

  This is perhaps the most famous stained glass window of the all- devoted to Notre Dame and the paler blue that you see was all that remained of the famed Chartres blue after the great fire of 1194- so it dates from sometime in 1120 to 1194. And on the right votive candles

And those coffee pots int he window of the brasserie across the road from the cathedral. And I have finished my angel piece- you can read more about her on Voyageart.

And if you are interested I am starting another On-line Travellers' Blanket class on 17 June 2013- simply email me . I hope to share some photos later this week of a  Travellers' Blanket class I have been teaching from home. If you are interested in joining an actual class with me at  home- please email me .it is very tempting to make a Chartres inspired blanket!


Potiron said...

and I live in Chartres and hardly ever go to the cathedral... I know the café with the coffee pots, love their window display!!!

The cathedral is in full restoration mode and is worth the visit even now with some scaffolding inside -though not as much as the past years.

In chartres there are other churches worth the visit and that are inspirational as well. And just walking in the old town by the canal to see ancient doorways and imagine life here in the middle ages...

Next time you come to Chartres please let me know.


Sewjournal said...

The best book I have found on chartes is called Chartres - the birth of a Cathedral by Titus Burkhardt
You can find a copy here:

Also, I did a wall hanging inspired by the labyrinth at Chartes in appliqué. You can find more about it and see a picture of it on my blog here, if you are interested -