The Amiens Cathedral

Amiens is the main city of Picardy, a historical region in North-Western France, situated on the river Somme. In its centre stands a huge Cathedral – the largest Gothic building in France.

The construction of the Cathedral in Amiens began almost simultaneously with Reims. In 1218 the fire caused by lightning, was destroyed existed here a Cathedral of Romanesque architecture. And the first stone in the Foundation of the new temple was laid in 1220, under Bishop Arnaud de La Pierre (he died in 1247 and was buried in the Central chapel of the Cathedral). The builders were Amiens Cathedral Robert de Luzarches, Thomas de and then Cormon and his son Renaud de Cormon. The basis of the project, the builders took the Cathedral in Chartres, somewhat altered his. Stone for the construction of the temple, hard grayish Sandstone, brought from quarries in the vicinity of Amiens.

Andrey, Lower

Marina Gubareva

Amiens is the main city of Picardy, a historical region in North-Western France, situated on the river Somme. In its centre stands a huge Cathedral – the largest Gothic building in France.

The construction of the Cathedral in Amiens began almost simultaneously with Reims. In 1218 year by a fire caused by lightning, was destroyed existed here a Cathedral of Romanesque architecture. And the first stone in the Foundation of the new temple was laid in 1220, under Bishop Arnaud de La Pierre (he died in 1247 and was buried in the Central chapel of the Cathedral). The builders were Amiens Cathedral Robert de Luzarches, Thomas de and then Cormon and his son Renaud de Cormon. The basis of the project, the builders took the Cathedral in Chartres, somewhat altered his. Stone for the construction of the temple, hard grayish Sandstone, brought from quarries in the vicinity of Amiens.

Construction of Amiens Cathedral was largely completed by 1288, but the construction continued and in the XIV century. According to the original plan, the tower of the Cathedral had to be twice as wide and much higher than the existing, however, the builders decided to stop erecting towers to half height. They almost do not rise above the roof of the Cathedral, why there is a certain feeling of disharmony. In 1366 started the construction of the tent is over the southern tower. The Northern tower was completed only in the early fifteenth century. Different height and figure of the tower make the facade of the Cathedral is very picturesque.

The Amiens Cathedral

The Amiens Cathedral is impressive for its size. Its length is 145 m, maximum width – 59 m, height of the arches of the Central nave reaches 42,5 m width of the nave is 14.5 m, total building area is 7800 sq. m. After the completion of the Cathedral could accommodate the entire population of Amiens, amounting to about ten thousand people.

The facades of Amiens Cathedral differ rare fusion of architecture and sculpture. Researchers believe that the works were supervised by the Builder who was a prominent sculptor and head of a large gang of craftsmen-masons. He managed to bring a single idea to all the participants of construction.

From a distance the Amiens Cathedral looks like a precious casket. Sculpture, reliefs, carvings cover its facades. The main Western facade, is famous for its rich decoration. Three magnificently decorated portal represent the first tier of the building. In the center of the facade, above the main gate, the statue of Christ trampling the lion and Chimera – the symbols of death. The entrances to the Cathedral is framed by figures of apostles and saints, and trim – the seated figures of chimeras. The second and third tier is decorated with elegant arcades – they are called “openwork gallery”, the fourth is the traditional “Gallery of Kings”.

The sculptural decoration of the three portals of the Cathedral on three themes: the theme of the last judgment, the virgin Mary and the locally venerated Saint, the first Bishop of the city Firmino, canonized and became the patron Saint of Amiens. The decoration of the South facade of Amiens Cathedral is the famous sculpture “the Golden Madonna”, referring to the middle of the XIII century. It was once gilded, for which he received its name. This magnificent statue has served as the model for many sculptors of France and Europe.

The Amiens Cathedral is usually compared with ancient Greek Parthenon. It is not so in the Cathedral of Amiens there is no harmony that distinguishes the great temple of Ancient Greece. But the rich and highly artistic decoration of facades, really, puts the Amiens Cathedral in one of the outstanding works of world architecture. In it brighter and better embodied the Gothic style.

After whimsical carved decoration of the facades inside the Cathedral, expect to see something extraordinary. But the temple walls almost devoid of decoration – surrounds their only relief garland. The interior of the Church is divided almost in half by a wide transept. Going deep into a slim, lightweight colonnade with a height of 18 m creates the impression of space, space permeated by air and light. Much of this feeling is achieved due to the large size of the building, but even more because of a lack of traditional stained glass. One of French art historians even said that “in Amiens Cathedral does not regret what he had lost all of their stained glass, because the eye slides freely on the illuminated surface of the stone, admiring the beauty of lines”. Its stained glass Windows, the Amiens Cathedral is really lost everything: in the eighteenth century revolutionary citizens, inspired by the slogan of Voltaire “Kill the bastard!”, perekolotil stones. It’s good that some influential citizens of Amiens managed to stop the pogrom, and thus the damage to the Cathedral caused was minimal – in comparison, say, with what I have done advocates equality and fraternity in the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

From among the historic items in the Cathedral of Amiens preserved the wooden benches for the worshipers, made in the early XVI century. Bench covered with reliefs on the theme of the old Testament and reliefs depicting historical and everyday scenes. Here is depicted about 4500 pieces. Traditional rose-window in the Cathedral of Amiens made in the form of eight-petalled flower of the rose, reminiscent of a newly blossomed Bud. And rose and Lancet Windows with a height of 12 m were formerly glazed with multicolored stained glass. Therefore, the high vaults of the Cathedral seemed to be shaded and as it rested on the walls, shining with a soft iridescent light. Soft lighting fell while on the other hand – depending on time of day. And the lightest part of the Cathedral was the altar, illuminated by tall Lancet Windows of the apse. Such skillful light distribution, generally characteristic for the Gothic cathedrals of France, created a special sublime mood of praying. But in order to properly distribute these streams of light, had to be extraordinary wizard.

During the First world war, the Amiens Cathedral was in the vicinity of the front line. Several times it was crazy, and aiming the rocket missiles. However, due to the fact that the townspeople had surrounded the walls with sandbags, serious damage was avoided.

The Amiens Cathedral had a great influence on the architects, erected in later times the Gothic buildings in other areas of France.

The Amiens Cathedral
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