Chartres Cathedral

Essay by caarengCollege, Undergraduate June 2013

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Chartres Cathedral

The Chartres Cathedral of Paris, France is a worthy representative of the medieval worldview and beliefs. The Chartres Cathedral is one of the finest preserved French Gothic Cathedrals. It was built originally as a Romanesque church in 1145, but the west façade was destroyed by fire in 1194. The cathedral was reconstructed on the original church foundations between 1205 and 1260. ("Cathedral" n.d, para. 8) It was rebuilt in Gothic style, a style which so clearly represents the ideals of the medieval time. With its beautiful architecture and extensive stained glass windows, it was a place of honour God but in particular to pay homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary to whom the Cathedral is now dedicated. (Haynes, 2013, para. 4)

The Christian Church established itself not just as a sole spiritual power but as the negotiator of the destinies of people. It was also at the centre of the feudal system and had the utmost influential power during the Middle Ages.

Throughout the middle ages people believed that they had been created to serve God and must live well to be ready for judgement. ("Medieval" n.d, para, 1-2) Gothic architecture was developed from a Christian view, constructing these spectacular churches was a way to become nearer to god and to express their overwhelming dedication of worship and prayer.

The Chartres Cathedral is a perfect example of this, it speaks visually of man's desire to glorify god. One of the most magnificent characteristics of the Chartres's Gothic style is the rising spires, an attempt to reach the heavens. Decoration on the façades of the cathedral communicate that nothing should be hidden and nothing was too grand for God. Other features of the cathedral include the use of light and structure. The thick walls of Romanesque Architecture were...