Chartes Cathedral

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As you enter the cathedral through the central or royal portal, the eye is drawn to an amazingly inspiring ceiling. This is not unusual in a cathedral, since majestically tall ceilings are used to point the way to heaven. The chairs have been removed from the aisle that will take us to the apse, and we are unable to proceed directly down the aisle, as a floor labyrinth draws us to wander the famous labyrinth of the Chartres Cathedral. Upon finishing the circuitous walk, we continue to the apse. Since the cathedral is laid out in a cruciform shape, we pass by the two transepts (right and left rectangular shapes of a cross). Pillars line the aisle stretching a magnificant18 m to the ceiling. Once in the nave, we can observe the vaulted ceiling, which is 36 m high, and stained glass windows on either side. Prior to entering the Cathedral, we had noticed the unusual flying buttresses (the supporting arches over the windows) on the outside walls of the nave, created to support the extra tall vaulted ceiling. The extraordinary stained glass windows are dark, but still light enough to allow us to view “biblical stories, legends of the saints, the lives of heroes like Roland and Charlemagne, and scenes of everyday medieval life”. Giotto's Arena Chapel contains the frescoes of the painter Cimabue Giotto. The fresco of the Nativity is a part of the story of the virgin. The story of the incarnation and infancy of Christ begins on the Chancel Arch and continues to the middle register. The pulpit by Nicola Pisano is different from other pulpits in that it stands alone, not sharing a wall with a church. Thus the pulpit itself can be seen as a sculpture and is capable of being viewed from all sides. It is supported by columns. Three of the columns are sitting on carved lions. Nicola was known for creating “dignity in his portrayal of human forms”. The nativity is a relief panel based on a scene from the life of Jesus. The figures are mostly placed in the foreground...
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