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, image = 0 Amiens - Cathédrale Notre-Dame (1).JPG , imagesize = 200px , img capt = Amiens Cathedral , pushpin map = France , pushpin label position = below , coordinates = , country = , location =
Amiens Amiens (English: or ; ; pcd, Anmien, or ) is a city and commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abst ...

Amiens
, website = , bull date = , founded date = , founder = , dedication = , dedicated date = , consecrated date = , relics = Alleged head of
John the Baptist John the Baptist ''Yohanān HaMatbil''; la, Ioannes Baptista; grc-gre, Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτιστής, ''Iōánnēs ho baptistḗs'' or , ''Iōánnēs ho baptízōn'', or , ''Iōánnēs ho pródromos'';Wetterau, Bruce. ''World history' ...

John the Baptist
, status =
Cathedral A cathedral is a church Church may refer to: Religion * Church (building) A church building, church house, or simply church, is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religious activities. The term is used ...

Cathedral
, functional status = Active , architect =
Robert of LuzarchesRobert of Luzarches (born in Luzarches near Pontoise towards the end of the twelfth century) was a 13th-century French architect who worked on the Amiens Cathedral, cathedral of Notre Dame in Amiens. He is said to have been summoned to Paris by Phi ...

Thomas and Regnault de Cormont , style =
High Gothic High Gothic is a particularly refined and imposing style of Gothic architecture Gothic architecture (or pointed architecture) is an architectural style that was particularly popular in Europe from the late 12th century to the 16th century ...
, years built = 13th century , groundbreaking = , completed date = , length = , width = , width nave = , height = , diameter = , other dimensions = Façade: , floor area = 7,700 square meters , tower quantity = , tower height = , spire quantity = 1 , spire height = , materials = , bells = , bells hung = , bell weight = , diocese =
Amiens Amiens (English: or ; ; pcd, Anmien, or ) is a city and commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abst ...
, province =
Reims Reims ( , , ; also spelled Rheims in English) is the most populous city in the French Departments of France, department of Marne (department), Marne. The city lies northeast of Paris on the Vesle river, a tributary of the Aisne (river), Aisn ...
, bishop = Bishop Gérard Le Stang , organistdom = , director = , organist = , embedded = The Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Amiens (french: Basilique Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens), or simply Amiens Cathedral, is a
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...

Roman Catholic
church Church may refer to: Religion * Church (building) A church building, church house, or simply church, is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religious activities. The term is usually used to refer to the p ...
. The
cathedral A cathedral is a church Church may refer to: Religion * Church (building) A church building, church house, or simply church, is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religious activities. The term is used ...

cathedral
is the seat of the
Bishop of Amiens The Roman Catholic Diocese of Amiens (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Throu ...
. It is situated on a slight ridge overlooking the
River Somme The Somme ( , , ) is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course wi ...
in
Amiens Amiens (English: or ; ; pcd, Anmien, or ) is a city and commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abst ...

Amiens
, the administrative capital of the
Picardy Picardy (; Picard and french: Picardie, , ) is a historical territory and a former administrative region Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organiz ...

Picardy
region of France, some north of Paris. The cathedral was built almost entirely between 1220 and , a remarkably short period of time for a Gothic cathedral, giving it an unusual unity of style. Amiens is a classic example of the
High Gothic High Gothic is a particularly refined and imposing style of Gothic architecture Gothic architecture (or pointed architecture) is an architectural style that was particularly popular in Europe from the late 12th century to the 16th century ...
style of
Gothic architecture Gothic architecture (or pointed architecture) is an architectural style An architectural style is a set of characteristics and features that make a building or other structure notable or historically identifiable. It is a sub-class of sty ...
. It also has some features of the later
Rayonnant In French Gothic architecture, Rayonnant () is the period from about the mid-13th century to mid-14th century. It was characterized by a shift away from the High Gothic search for increasingly large size toward more spatial unity, refined decora ...
style in the enlarged high windows of the choir, added in the mid-1250s. Its builders were trying to maximize the internal dimensions in order to reach for the heavens and bring in more light. As a result, Amiens cathedral is the largest in France, , large enough to contain two cathedrals the size of Notre Dame of Paris. The cathedral has been listed as a
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for h ...
since 1981. Although it has lost much of its original stained glass, Amiens Cathedral is renowned for the quality and quantity of early 13th-century
Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes **Gothic language, an extinct East Germanic language spoken by the Goths **Crimean Gothic, the Gothic language spoken by ...
sculpture in the main west façade and the south
transept A transept (with two semitransepts) is a transverse part of any building, which lies across the main body of the edifice."Transept", ProbertEncyclopaedia.comPE-tran In churches, a transept is an area set crosswise to the nave The nave () ...

transept
portal, and a large quantity of polychrome sculpture from later periods inside the building.


History


Earlier cathedrals

According to local tradition, Christianity was brought to Amiens in the third century A.D. by two Christian martyrs, known as
Firmin Firmin is a French surname and masculine given name, from the Late Latin Firminus, a derivative of ''firmus'' meaning "firm" or "steadfast". The instruction of St Paul to "be steadfast in the faith" gave the name great popularity among early Christi ...
the Martyr and Firmin the Confessor.
Saint MartinSaint Martin may refer to: People * Saint Martin of Tours (c. 316–397), Bishop of Tours, France * Saint Martin of Braga (c. 520–580), archbishop of Bracara Augusta in Gallaecia (now Braga in Portugal) * Pope Martin I (598–655) * Saint Martin ...
was baptised in Amiens in 334. The church was suppressed by the invasions of the
Vandals The Vandals were a Germanic peoples, Germanic people who first inhabited what is now southern Poland. They established Vandal Kingdom, Vandal kingdoms on the Iberian Peninsula, Mediterranean islands, and North Africa in the fifth century. The ...
, and did not recommence until the end of the fifth century, with the baptism of
Clovis I Clovis ( la, Chlodovechus; reconstructed Old Frankish, Frankish: ; – 27 November 511) was the first List of Frankish kings, king of the Franks to unite all of the Franks, Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the form of leadership from a ...

Clovis I
in 498 or 499. The first Bishop of Amiens was Edibus, who participated in a Council in 511. An early cathedral with two churches dedicated to the two Fermins is said in documents to have existed on the site of the present church, but there is no archaeological evidence. A fire destroyed the two churches and much of the town, and a Romanesque cathedral was built to replace it between 1137 and 1152. This cathedral hosted the wedding in 1193 of King
Philip II of France Philip II (21 August 1165 – 14 July 1223), byname Philip Augustus (french: Philippe Auguste), was King of France The monarchs of the Kingdom of France The Kingdom of France ( fro, Reaume de France, frm, Royaulme de France, french: l ...

Philip II of France
. In 1206 Amiens received a celebrated relic, the reputed head of
John the Baptist John the Baptist ''Yohanān HaMatbil''; la, Ioannes Baptista; grc-gre, Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτιστής, ''Iōánnēs ho baptistḗs'' or , ''Iōánnēs ho baptízōn'', or , ''Iōánnēs ho pródromos'';Wetterau, Bruce. ''World history' ...

John the Baptist
, purchased in Constantinople. This relic made Amiens a major pilgrimage destination, and gave it an important source of revenue (The reliquary was destroyed during the French Revolution but a recreation made in 1876 by a Paris jeweler, using some of the original rock crystal, is displayed today in the Cathedral treasury).


Construction

File:Cathédrale, AmiensTP.JPG, Exterior of Amiens Cathedral File:78687979е.jpg, Cutaway plan of the Cathedral A fire destroyed the Romanesque cathedral in 1218. A plan for a new cathedral was made by master-builder
Robert de LuzarchesRobert of Luzarches (born in Luzarches near Pontoise towards the end of the twelfth century) was a 13th-century French architect who worked on the Amiens Cathedral, cathedral of Notre Dame in Amiens. He is said to have been summoned to Paris by Phi ...
, and in 1220 Bishop Evrard de Fouilloy laid the first stone. Luzarches revolutionised the system of Gothic construction by using pieces of stone of standardised sizes and forms, rather than making unique pieces for each function. He was the architect until 1228, and was followed by
Thomas de CormontThomas de Cormont (born towards the end of the twelfth century) was a French Gothic art, Gothic Era Stonemasonry, master-mason and architect who worked on the Amiens Cathedral, Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Amiens following the death of its chief archit ...
until 1258. His son, Renaud de Cormont, acted as the architect until 1288. The construction was carried out, unusually, from the west to the east, beginning in the nave. De Cormont gave the structure its striking dimensions and harmony by his construction of the grand arcades and the upper windows. The nave was completed in 1236, and by 1269, the upper windows of the choir were in place. At the end of the 13th century, the arms of the transept were completed, and in the beginning of the 14th century the facades and the upper towers were finished. While these works underway, the chapels between the buttresses and at the angles of the transept were added.


Strengthening (15th century)

The original design of the
flying buttresses roof, flying buttresses support the main Vault (architecture), vault of St. Mary's Church, Lübeck, St. Mary's Church, in Lübeck, Germany. The flying buttress (''arc-boutant'', arch buttress) is a specific form of buttress composed of an arch that ...
around the choir had them placed too high to counteract the force of the ceiling arch pushing outwards resulting in excessive lateral forces being placed on the vertical columns. The structure was only saved when masons placed a second row of more robust flying buttresses that connected lower down on the outer wall.NOVA | Building the Great Cathedrals
In 1497 the four pillars of the transept crossing, as well as the two left columns of the chevet began to show cracks and other signs of stress. A team of experts examined the damage and carried out some repairs, but the cracks continued. The problem was finally resolved by the
Pierre Tarisel Pierre Tarisel (c. 1442 – August 1510) was the Master-mason to the King of France, known for working on Amiens Cathedral. Career In 1475 Tarisel was summoned to inspect Noyon Cathedral, which was deteriorating in many places. Although he was not ...
, who in 1498 installed a
wrought iron Wrought iron is an iron Iron () is a with Fe (from la, ) and 26. It is a that belongs to the and of the . It is, on , right in front of (32.1% and 30.1%, respectively), forming much of Earth's and . It is the fourth most common . ...
bar chain In structural engineering and construction, an eyebar is a straight bar, usually of metal, with a hole ("eye") at each end for fixing to other components. Eyebars are used in structures such as bridges, in settings in which only tension (physics) ...
around the level to resist the forces pushing the stone columns outward. The chain was installed red hot to act as a cinch, tightening as it cooled, and is still in place. In 1503 Tarisel took similar actions to reinforce portions of the entrance of the choir.


Modifications (16–18th century)

File:Amiens Cathédrale Notre-Dame Süd-Rosette.jpg, The Flamboyant south rose window (16th c.) In the 16th century, the cathedral suffered damage from fires, windstorms, and the explosion of a nearby powder mill, without major damage. It also underwent several modifications to accommodate changing styles; a new rose window, in the
Flamboyant Gothic Great West Window, York Minster (1338) Flamboyant (from ) is a form of late Gothic architecture Gothic architecture (or pointed architecture) is an architectural style that was particularly popular in Europe from the late 12th centur ...
style, full of curls and counter-curls, was installed in the west transept. In the 18th century, architectural modifications were made to comply with new doctrines pronounced by the
Council of Trent The Council of Trent ( la, Concilium Tridentinum), held between 1545 and 1563 in Trent (or Trento, in northern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of ...

Council of Trent
. The old medieval
rood screen The rood screen (also choir screen, chancel screen, or jubé) is a common feature in late medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and present ...

rood screen
between the choir and nave was replaced by an ornate iron grill choir screen, so that the parishioners in the nave could see the altar. The altar itself was modified, removing the twelve massive candelabras and twelve chests of relics of martyred saints. Major works were also carried out to strengthen the flying buttresses.


The Revolution and the 19th century

File:Roberts, David, Interior of Amiens Cathedral, ca. 1827.jpg, Interior of the cathedral by David Roberts (c. 1827) File:Interior da Catedral de Amiens by Jules Victor Genisson, 1842.jpg, Interior of the cathedral by Jules Victor Genisson (1842) File:Amiens sepia aerial 1878.png, Sepia photograph of the cathedral in 1878 The cathedral, like other cathedrals across France, suffered considerable damage during the French Revolution. Much of the sculpture was battered with hammers, and many statues had their heads broken off. Much of the furniture and interior decoration disappeared; part of the cathedral was used as a storehouse for materials used in various Revolutionary celebrations. The cathedral was returned to its religious function in 1800, and the first restoration work began in 1802. Beginning in 1810, the neoclassical architect Etienne Hyypolyte Godde was put in charge of the work, followed 1821 by Francois Auguste Cheussey, who commissioned three sculptors to make new statuary. After the press criticized faults in the sculpture and restoration, Cheussey resigned and was replaced in 1849 by
Eugene Viollet-le-Duc Eugene may refer to: People and fictional characters * Eugene (given name), including a list of people and fictional characters with the given name * Eugene (actress) (born 1981), Kim Yoo-jin, South Korean actress and former member of the sin ...
. Viollet-le-Duc began a more ambitious program aimed at restoring the building as much as possible to its medieval spirit, including the addition of sculpted and other legendary Gothic creatures. Viollet-le-Duc worked almost continually on the Cathedral until 1874.


Protection and restoration (20th century)

The stained glass windows of the church were removed to protect them during both the First and Second World War, and the church suffered only minor damage. However, in 1920, some of the windows, which were being stored in the workshop of a master glass maker, for their protection, were destroyed by a fire. Between 1973 and 1980, the
flèche A flèche () is the name given to spires in Gothic architecture: in French the word is applied to any spire, but in English it has the technical meaning of a ''spirelet'' or ''spike'' on the rooftop of a building. In particular, the spirelets ...

flèche
, or spire, was entirely restored. In 1981, the cathedral was declared a UNESCO
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for h ...
. Restoration of the west facade was completed in 2001. In 1992, the art historian Stephen Murray was appointed by the
French Ministry of Culture The Ministry of Culture (french: Ministère de la Culture) is the ministry of the Government of France The Government of France (French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France ...
in the scientific committee to oversee the restoration of Amiens Cathedral: Murray was made an honorary citizen of Amiens and awarded an honorary Doctorate at University of Picardy, Jules Verne, following this work.


Exterior


The west facade and the portals

File:Amiens cathedral 002.JPG, The rose window and gallery of Kings on the west facade File:Amiens cathédrale10.JPG, West portals of Amiens Cathedral File:Cathédrale d'Amiens, façade - détail.JPG, Christ rendering judgement in the central portal File:Amiens west entrance martyrs.JPG, Local saints including the decapitated martyrs, Victoricus and Gentian, in the west portals File:Amiens Portail Vierge détail.jpg, Smiling Virgin statue on west portal The west facade of the cathedral was built in a single campaign from 1220 to 1236, and shows an unusual degree of artistic unity. The level of the rose window was finished in about 1240. Afterward, construction moved more slowly. The upper parts of the towers were not completed until the 14th century. The facade has three deep porches with pointed arches, covering the three portals. Above the portals are two galleries; the upper is the Gallery of Kings, with twenty-two life-size statues of the Kings of France. Nearly all of the statues date to the restoration by Viollet-le-Duc. Above the gallery is the rose window, whose stone
tracery Tracery is an architectural upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (attic storey) of the Hôtel de Brionne in Paris – 1734 ...
or framework dates from the 16th century. Above the rose window is the Musicians or Bellringers gallery, a 19th-century reconstruction of the original. The central portal is dedicated to the Last Judgement, the left portal to the martyr Saint Firmin; and the right portal to the
Virgin Mary According to the gospels Gospel originally meant the Christian message, but in the 2nd century it came to be used also for the books in which the message was set out; in this sense a gospel can be defined as a loose-knit, episodic narrat ...

Virgin Mary
. Over each portal is a tympanum filled with sculpture. The centerpiece of the Tympanum of the Last Judgement is the figure of Christ, raising his hands, judging those below him. On his right and left, the Virgin Mary and Saint John appeal to him to be merciful. The good Christians, to his right, are escorted to Paradise, while the sinners, to his left, are marched to hell. A recent cleaning of the sculpture revealed traces of the painted red marks on Christ's hands, representing where nails were driven during his
crucifixion Crucifixion is a method of capital punishment Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the ...

crucifixion
. Statues of saints in the tympanum include locally venerated Saints Victoricus and Gentian, Saint Domitius, Saint Ulphia, and
Saint Fermin Fermin (also Firmin, from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...
.


Bell towers

The upper portions of the towers of the west facade, above the rose window, were later constructions, and are of different heights. The south bell tower on the right facing the facade, is shorter and was completed first in about 1366, The north tower was completed in 1406, and is decorated in the late Gothic Flamboyant style. The elaborate Bell-Ringers or Musicians Gallery, which joins the two towers at the roof level, was added at this time, and was substantially restored or recreated in the 19th century by Viollet-le-Duc. Viollet-le-Duc redesigned the gallery on the model of the gallery of Chartres Cathedral from the same period. File:Tours de la cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens 1.jpg, The flamboyant north tower (c. 1406) and the south tower (c. 1366) File:ND Amiens tour sud 1.jpg, The south tower, with a sundial on the left


Beau Pilier

One unusual feature of the towers is the ''Beau Pilier'' (Beautiful pillar), a supporting buttress that was added in the 14th century at the junction between the north tower the first of two new chapels built on the north side. The pillar and chapels were commissioned by Jean de la Grange, Bishop of Amiens (1373–1375) who was a principal advisor to King
Charles VI of France Charles VI (3 December 136821 October 1422), called the Beloved (french: le Bien-Aimé) and later the Mad (french: le Fol or ''le Fou''), was King of France The monarchs of the Kingdom of France The Kingdom of France ( fro, Reaume de Fr ...

Charles VI of France
. The pillar holds nine statues representing the major political, religious and military figures of France at the time; at the bottom, Cardinal de la Grange himself; The Chamberlain, Bureau de la Riviere, and Admiral Jean de Vienne, above them, King Charles himself (Centre); his son the Dauphin, the future King
Charles VI of France Charles VI (3 December 136821 October 1422), called the Beloved (french: le Bien-Aimé) and later the Mad (french: le Fol or ''le Fou''), was King of France The monarchs of the Kingdom of France The Kingdom of France ( fro, Reaume de Fr ...

Charles VI of France
, and his younger son. Above these statues are statues of John the Baptist, The Virgin Mary, and Saint Firmin. File:Contrefort tour Nord Amiens 180908 03.jpg, King Charles I of France, on the Beau Pilier (14th c.) File:Beau Pilier de la cathédrale d'Amiens, saint-Jean-Baptiste 2.jpg, Sculpture on the Beau Pilier – St, John the Baptist (14th c.) File:Vierge Cathédrale d'Amiens 090608.jpg, The Virgin Mary on the Beau Pilier (14th c.)


The flèche

The original 13th-century
flèche A flèche () is the name given to spires in Gothic architecture: in French the word is applied to any spire, but in English it has the technical meaning of a ''spirelet'' or ''spike'' on the rooftop of a building. In particular, the spirelets ...

flèche
, or spire of the cathedral, located over the crossing point of the transept and nave, was destroyed by lightning in 1528, but was replaced by a new flèche, constructed of a wooden frame covered with gilded lead plates. It was frequently damaged by storms and repaired in the following years but, unlike the flèche of Notre Dame de Paris, it was never entirely redesigned and rebuilt. It still retains most of its original 16th century materials, including its wooden framework. From the ground to sculpted rooster at the pinnacle, the flèche reaches a height of . The statues on the flèche, made of lead, represent Christ (facing the nave); Saint Paul, Saint Firmin (wearing a Bishop's mitre); Saint John the Evangelist; The Virgin Mary crowned and holding the infant Jesus; Saint John the Baptist; Saint
James the Great James the Great, also known as James, son of Zebedee or as Saint James the Greater (Aramaic: ܝܥܩܘܒ ܒܪ ܙܒܕܝ; Arabic:يعقوب; Biblical Hebrew, Hebrew: , ''Jacob (name), Yaʿăqōḇ''; Latin: ''Iacobus Maximus''; Biblical Greek, Gree ...
and Saint Peter. File:Fleche.cathedrale.Amiens.3.png, The fleche as drawn by File:Amiens France Cathédrale-Notre-Dame-d-Amiens-11.jpg, The fleche of Amiens Cathedral (16th c.) File:Flèche Cathédrale d'Amiens 300908 2.jpg, Sculpture of the flèche


Flying buttresses

The
flying buttress The flying buttress (''arc-boutant'', arch buttress) is a specific form of buttress A buttress is an architectural Architecture (Latin ''architectura ''Architectura: Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Baukunst'' is a biannual peer-reviewe ...

flying buttress
es are the architectural feature that made possible the exceptional height of the walls of the nave and choir. The arched buttresses leap over the outer, lower level of the cathedral, where the ambulatory and chapels are located, to strengthen the upper walls of the clerestory. They counteract the outward and downward thrust of the vaulted ceiling, so that the walls between the buttresses can be thin and filled with large windows. The buttresses were later given additional strength by the placement of heavy stone pinnacles on top of their bases. The buttresses of the nave are older, from about 1230, and each pier has two arches, one above the other. They both make a single jump to the wall of the nave; one arch meets the wall just above the point of maximum outward thrust from the vaults; the other just below. The buttresses of the choir, finished in about 1260, have an entirely different design. Each buttress has two supporting piers, one taller than the other, and the arches make two jumps to reach the wall, meeting it at the point of maximum outward thrust. The choir buttresses have an additional function; channels in the top of the stone arches carry rain water as far as possible from the structure, jetting it out from the mouths of carved
gargoyle In architecture upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (attic storey) of the Hôtel de Brionne in Paris – 1734. Arch ...

gargoyle
s. File:Amiens Cathédrale Notre-dame arc-boutant sud-est 4.jpg, The flying buttresses between the bays supporting the upper walls of the choir File:Coupe.cathedrale.Amiens.png, The early buttresses of the nave, drawn by (c. 1230) File:Arc.boutant.cathedrale.Amiens.png, The later reinforced double buttresses of the choir (c. 1260)


Interior

File:Amiens cathedral floorplan.JPG, Plan of Cathedral


The nave

The nave and the transept were the areas where the public worshiped, while the choir was reserved for clergy. At Amiens, the Nave followed the model of the
Early Gothic Early Gothic is the style of architecture that appeared in northern France, Normandy and then England between about 1130 and the mid-13th century. It combined and developed several key elements from earlier styles, particularly from Romanesque arc ...
Chartres Cathedral Chartres Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres (french: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres), is a Roman Catholic church architecture, church in Chartres, France, about southwest of Paris, and is the seat of the List of b ...

Chartres Cathedral
and
Soissons Cathedral Soissons Cathedral ( French: ''Cathédrale Saint-Gervais-et-Saint-Protais'') is a Gothic basilica In Ancient Roman architecture, a basilica is a large public building with multiple functions, typically built alongside the town's Forum (Roman ...
. The elevation has three levels; the grand arcades, the triforium, and the clerestory at the top. The grand arcades, unlike earlier cathedrals, occupy a full half of the height of the wall. The pillars of the arcade, eighteen meters high, are composed of massive columns surrounded by four thinner colonettes, which continue up the walls to support the vaulted ceiling. The total height of the walls beneath the vaults is 42 meters, compared with 36 meters at Chartres Cathedral and Reims Cathedral. They are exceeded in height only by
Beauvais Cathedral Beauvais Cathedral or at greater length the Cathedral of Saint Peter of Beauvais (french: Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Beauvais) is a Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , establishe ...

Beauvais Cathedral
, whose vaults partially collapsed in 1284. File:Amiens Cathedral Nave 2, Picardy, France - Diliff.jpg, The Baroque pulpit and the nave File:Voutes amiens.JPG, The upper windows of the nave


The pulpit

The Baroque pulpit, on the north side of the nave, was installed in 1773. It is made of painted and gilded wood. The reading platform is supported by statues representing Faith, Hope and Charity. Over the pulpit is a gilded stone background like a drapery. The covering above, resembling clouds, is supported by carved stone angels. Atop the "clouds" is another angel, hand uplifted, holding a book with the inscription, ''Hoc fac et vives'' (Do this and you shall live). File:Amiens Cathédrale Notre-Dame Innen Kanzel 4.jpg, The Baroque pulpit File:Chaire Amiens Détail.jpg, Detail of the pulpit; Faith, Hope, and Charity File:Chaire Cathédrale d'Amiens 110608 04.jpg, The angel atop the Pulpit


The transept

The transept crossing the church in the center is seventy meters long, and divided into three vessels. The centre of the transept, where it crosses the nave, is covered by a massive star vault, one of the earliest in France, supported by four massive pillars. The elevation has three levels, like the nave; the arcades, triforium and the clerestory at the top. The triforium and the clerestory are entirely walled with stained glass, filling the center of the cathedral with light. The rose windows are later additions. The north rose window is in the Rayonnant style, while the later south rose window is in the
Flamboyant Flamboyant (from ) is a form of late Gothic architecture Gothic architecture (or pointed architecture) is an architectural style An architectural style is a set of characteristics and features that make a building or other structure ...

Flamboyant
style. The spire over the central crossing was added between 1529 and 1533. File:Amiens Cathedral North Stainedglass Wikimedia Commons.jpg, Transept and north stained glass windows File:Amiens Cathédrale Notre-Dame Innen Vierung 2.jpg, The star vault of the transept, where it meets the nave File:Amiens Cathédrale Notre-Dame Innen Südliches Querschiff.jpg, South transept rose window (16th century)


The choir

The choir stalls, made in the early 16th century, are among the treasures of the cathedral. One hundred ten of the one hundred twenty seats are original. The upper rows were occupied by the chanoines the lower by the chaplains. The King's representative occupied the first seat in the north stalls, and the Doyen of the cathedral, or most senior cleric, the first seat in the south stalls. The stalls are decorated with a multitude of carved figures; more than four thousand figures from the Old and New Testaments. The armrests, pendentives and dais are also richly decorated with sculpted images of animals, real and mythical, and images of craftsmen of the different professions and trades in the city. One hundred ten of the original one hundred twenty stalls are still in place. File:Amiens Cathedral choir Wikimedia Commons.jpg, The choir and choir stalls, facing east to the apse File:Stalles Cathédrale d'Amiens 280808 06.jpg, The choir stalls File:Stalles Cathédrale d'Amiens 280808 05.jpg, Detail of the choir stall carvings – the Assumption The ambulatory surrounding the choir is richly decorated with
polychrome Polychrome is the "practice of decorating architectural elements, sculpture, etc., in a variety of colors." The term is used to refer to certain styles of architecture, pottery Pottery is the process and the products of forming vesse ...

polychrome
sculpture and flanked by numerous chapels. One of the most sumptuous is the Drapers' chapel. The cloth industry was the most dynamic component of the medieval economy, especially in northern France, and the cloth merchants were keen to display their wealth and civic pride. Another striking chapel is dedicated to
St Thomas of Canterbury Thomas Becket (), also known as Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Thomas of London and later Thomas à Becket (21 December 1119 or 1120 – 29 December 1170), was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his murder in 1170. He is venerated as ...
, a 13th-century dedication that complements the cathedral's own very full list of martyrs. The interior contains works of art and decoration from every period since the building of the cathedral. There are notably baroque paintings of the 17th century, by artists such as Frans II Francken and
Laurent de La Hyre Laurent de La Hyre (; February 27, 1606 – December 28, 1656) was a French Baroque painter, born in Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, wi ...
.


The Choir screen (15th–16th c.)

Among the most celebrated art treasures of the cathedral are the polychrome sculptures which are displayed in the ambulatory, on the outer walls of the enclosure of the Choir. They illustrate the lives of Saint Fermin (south side, made between 1490 and 1530) and John the Baptist (north side, made in 1531)). Both subjects were connected with the Cathedral; The purported head of John the Baptist was an important relic held in the Treasury, and the martyred
Saint Fermin Fermin (also Firmin, from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...
was considered the first bishop of Amiens. Another group of polychrome sculpture in the north ambulatory depicts in imaginative fashion Christ's cleansing of the Temple. The tombs of several bishops and other religious figures of the cathedral, also abundantly decorated are found in the lower portions of the enclosure, below the sculptural scenes. File:1074 - Cathédrale mausolée de Ferry de Beauvoir - Amiens.jpg, Scenes from the life of St. Firmin and the tomb of Bishop Ferry de Beauvoir (1490–1530) File:Amiens - vie de saint Firmin 2.jpg, A scene from the life of Saint Firmin


The altar

In the mid-18th century the centre of the Cathedral was entirely redesigned in the Baroque style, to follow changes in church doctrine and architecture dictated by the Vatican Council. A new floor of coloured marble was installed, along with a new main altar. In 1768 the "Gloire", a monumental Baroque screen of sculpted and gilded wood representing heaven and crowded with sculpture of cherubs and angel was placed behind the altar. File:Grille Cathédrale d'Amiens 110608 1.jpg, Detail of the Baroque choir grill (18th c.) File:Altar in Amiens Cathedral.JPG, The baroque high altar and "Gloire" screen (1755–68) File:Amiens Cathédrale Notre-Dame Innen Chor Hochaltar 3.jpg, Detail of the "Gloire" screen


The labyrinth

A labyrinth in the centre of the floor of the nave was a common feature of early and High Gothic cathedrals; they were also found in the cathedrals of Sens, Chartres, Arras and Reims. It symbolised the obstacles and twists and turns of the journey toward salvation, but also showed that with determination the journey was possible. On certain religious holidays, pilgrims would follow the labyrinth on their knees. The Amiens labyrinth is 240 meters long. It was originally put in place in 1288 by the architect Rene de Cormont. The labyrinth today is not the original, but an exact copy, made in the 19th century. File:AmienCathedralLabyrinth.JPG, The labyrinth on the floor of the nave File:Amiens centre labyrinthe.JPG, The centre of the labyrinth


The chevet and east chapels

The east end of the cathedral largely preserves the original medieval design, containing the choir, the space reserved for the clergy. It is surrounded by a very ornate carved wooden screen, and seven chapels in the semicircular apse. An ambulatory allows visitors to walk around the circuit of the chapels behind the choir. The semicircular wall at the east end marked a new stage in the development of the Gothic. The upper walls of the clerestory, just beneath the vaults, and the walls of the triforium below them were entirely filled with glass. The arches of the triforium and arcades were topped with pointed arches, stressing the vertical, and admitted a maximum amount of light from different heights and directions, depending upon the time of day. Light also filtered down into the disambulatory from the upper levels. Seven chapels are arranged around the semicircular east end. The Lady's Chapel, dedicated to The Virgin Mary, was at the very end of the cathedral, was reserved for the servants of the Canon (priest), Canons who lived in the cloisters of the cathedral. The first chapel on the south side of the chevet is devoted to Saint Eloi, and now serves as the entrance to the cathedral treasury. Its primary decoration is a series of eight paintings of the Sibyls from the 16th century. Three of the chapels in the east end were entirely redone by Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century; those of St. Theodisius, in the north, The Lady's Chapel (Notre-Dame-Drapiere) in the centre, and Saint Jacques or the Sacred Heart, in the south. Viollet-le-Duc designed the furniture and decoration, including the gilded bronze altar in the Chapel of the Sacred Heart. File:Amiens Cathédrale Notre-Dame Chor 05.jpg, The chevet or east end of the cathedral, with its radiating chapels File:Sibylle Cathédrale d'Amiens 110608.jpg, Chapel of St. Eloi, painting of a Sibyl (16th century) File:Amiens Cathédrale Notre-Dame Innen Chorscheitelkapelle 2.jpg, Chapel of Notre Dame-Drapiere (Lady's Chapel) (19th century)


The lateral and transept chapels

In addition to the chapels at the east end, small chapels occupy both sides of the nave and angles of the transept. The original decoration of these chapels was replaced in the 18th century by the present decor. Each chapel is dedicated to a particular saint, and features large paintings reaching up to the windows, altars, stone and wooden statuary, all from the 18th century. The chapels are closed by ornamental wrought-iron screens and gates. In the north transept, the Chapel of Saint Peter occupies the northeast corner. It was created in response to the plague epidemic that struck Amiens in 1667–68, but was not completed until 1709. It was made by Gilles Oppenord, one of the pioneers of the Rococo style. On the east side of the north transept is the Chapel of Saint Sebastian, also known as the Chapel of the Green Pillar. At its summit is a sculpture by Nicolas Blasset, "Saint Sebastian surrounded by the allegories of Justice, Peace, and Saint Roche", which was completed in 1627. A sculpture of Saint Louis by Louis Duthoit was added to the chapel in 1832. On the west wall of the north transept are four scenes in high relief showing Christ driving the merchants from the Temple, made in 1523 by Jean Wytz. Another early work in the transept is the altarpiece of the Chapel of Our Lady of the Red Pillar, an assembly of sculpture and paintings, clustered around a main pillar. It was completed in 1627 by Nicolas Blasset. The painting of the Assumption of Mary (1627) is by François Franken, and the sculptures of Saint Sebastian, the Virgin Mary, David and Solomon, and Judith and Saint Genevieve, made by Blasset. The south transept contains the Chapel of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, in the southeast corner, with statues of those saints made by Jean-Baptiste Michel Dupuis in 1749. It also contains an altarpiece with a painting of the Adoration of the Magi from the early 18th century. A group of polychrome reliefs illustrating the vow of
John the Baptist John the Baptist ''Yohanān HaMatbil''; la, Ioannes Baptista; grc-gre, Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτιστής, ''Iōánnēs ho baptistḗs'' or , ''Iōánnēs ho baptízōn'', or , ''Iōánnēs ho pródromos'';Wetterau, Bruce. ''World history' ...

John the Baptist
, made in 1511, is found on the west wall of the south transept. File:Amiens Cathedrale Notre Dame Chapelle ND du Pilier Rouge (Ete2017).jpg, The Altar of the Chapel of the Red Pillar (1627) File:Chapelle Saint Sébastien Amiens 190908 2.jpg, Saint Sebastian, by Nicolas Blasset in the Chapel of the Green Pillar File:Chapelle Saint Sébastien Amiens 190908 1.jpg, Altar of the Chapel of the Green Pillar (17th c.)


The treasury

The Treasury is located in the apse at the east end of the Cathedral, on the southern side near the sacristy. The collection of reliquaries and other precious objects was dispersed in 1793 during the Revolution, but gradually some of the treasures were returned, some were recreated, while others were added by other donors. Objects of particular interest include the Crown of Paraclet,made in about 1230–1240, which was saved from destruction at the Cistercian monastery of Paraclet, not from Amiens. It contains what are said to be relics of the Passion of Christ, set into a gilded and enamelled crown decorated with jewels, pearls and precious stones. A fine statue of the Virgin Mary and Child, made of polychrome wood in the 15th century is also found in the Treasury. Other objects of interest are found in the chapels along the nave and transept. The initial impetus for the building of the cathedral came from the installation of the reputed head of
John the Baptist John the Baptist ''Yohanān HaMatbil''; la, Ioannes Baptista; grc-gre, Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτιστής, ''Iōánnēs ho baptistḗs'' or , ''Iōánnēs ho baptízōn'', or , ''Iōánnēs ho pródromos'';Wetterau, Bruce. ''World history' ...

John the Baptist
on 17 December 1206. The head was part of the loot of the Fourth Crusade, which had been diverted from campaigning against the Turks to the Siege of Constantinople (1204), sacking of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. A sumptuous reliquary, with the face of the Saint, was made to house the skull. Although the skull and original reliquary were lost during the Revolution, a 19th-century replica was made and is displayed on the north aisle. File:Couronne-reliquaire du Paraclet 1.jpg, The crown reliquary of Paraclet (1230–1240) File:Statue de Vierge à l'Enfant en bois polychrome du XVe siècle 1.jpg, Virgin and Child, polychrome wood (15th c.) File:Reliquaire du chef de saint Jean-Baptiste 1.jpg, Copy of the Reliquary made for the head of Saint John the Baptist (19th century)


Stained glass windows

Only a few of the original stained glass windows still remain; many were removed during the remodeling of the Cathedral in the 18th century. Others were destroyed when the church was sacked by the Protestant Huguenots in 1561, by hurricanes in 1627 and 1705; by the exposition of a powder mill in 1675. A large group of early windows, which had been removed in 1914 to protect them from damage during the First World War, were destroyed in 1920 when the studio where they were stored was destroyed by fire. Some of the early glass dates from same period as those of Chartres Cathedral, though most of the earliest windows have disappeared. Some of the earliest glass, from about 1269, is found in two of the lancets in the high windows of the chapel at the end of the apse, at the east end of the Cathedral. These two windows depict the same scene, one the inverse of the other. They show a clergyman presenting the stained glass to the Virgin Mary, to whom the chapel is dedicated. Angels carry crowns which they hold over the heads of the elongated figures. Several very early panels of glass, from about 1300, can be seen in the windows of the triforium, the mid-level of the wall, in the apse. They depict a procession of saints, apostles, prophets and bishops of monumental size, set against a background of light-coloured glass, to make them stand out. They face the centre of the Apse, underneath a window depicting the Virgin Mary and the Annunciation. A few other original 13th century panels, including one representing King David from a Tree of Jesse window depicting the genealogy of Christ, are found in the Chapel of Saint Francis of Assisi, in the apse. The innovative feature of the upper windows of Amiens Cathedral was how they filled the entire space of the upper wall. Thanks to the thin stone mullions that separate the group of lancet windows and the small circular windows on the upper levels, and the massive buttresses on the exterior that provided support for the walls, the individual windows in each bay seemed to merge into one great window, filling the nave below with light. The largest part of the stained glass in the Cathedral comes from the 19th century. The window in the Chapel of Saint Theodosius in the apse, for example, was made by the glass artist Gérente in 1854 donated by Emperor Louis Napoleon. The lower portions of the window depict the Emperor, the Empress Eugenie, the Bishop of Amiens and Pope Pius IX. The Cathedral also features some 20th century Art Deco glass, in the Chapel of Sacré Coeur, made in 1932-34 by the master glass artist Jean Gaudin (glass artist), Jean Gaudin, based on designs of the painter Jacques le Breton. File:Amiens Cathedral Ambulatory, Picardy, France - Diliff.jpg, Stained glass windows in the ambulatory File:Dernière Cène Amiens.jpg, Medallion of the Last Supper (13th century) File:Stained glass windows of Amiens Cathedral, pic-001.JPG, Windows of the central apse chapel (13th century) File:Quatre vitraux du treizième siècle - cathédrale d'Amiens.JPG, Four windows from the 13th century File:Stained glass windows of Amiens Cathedral, pic-003.JPG, Windows of the Chapel of Saint-Etienne File:Cathedral of Amiens glass window.jpg, Art Deco stained glass by Jean Gaudin (glass artist), Jean Gaudin (1933)


Rose windows

The three rose windows each represent a different period of the cathedral's construction. The rose window on the west facade is the oldest, from 1221–1230, from the
High Gothic High Gothic is a particularly refined and imposing style of Gothic architecture Gothic architecture (or pointed architecture) is an architectural style that was particularly popular in Europe from the late 12th century to the 16th century ...
period, and represents Christ surrounded by the symbolic figures of the Apocalypse. The rose window of the north transept has the characteristic radiating tracery of the
Rayonnant In French Gothic architecture, Rayonnant () is the period from about the mid-13th century to mid-14th century. It was characterized by a shift away from the High Gothic search for increasingly large size toward more spatial unity, refined decora ...
Gothic. The rose window of the south transept is the latest, from 1489–90, with the curves and reverse curves of the late Gothic
Flamboyant Flamboyant (from ) is a form of late Gothic architecture Gothic architecture (or pointed architecture) is an architectural style An architectural style is a set of characteristics and features that make a building or other structure ...

Flamboyant
style. It depicts fourteen angels, heads towards the centre of the window, in a style characteristic of the Picard style of window in the 15th century. File:Amiens Cathédrale Notre-Dame Innen Westrosette 3.jpg, High Gothic rose window of the west facade (1221–1230) File:Rose windows of Amiens Cathedral.JPG, Rayonnant rose window of the north transept (14th c.) File:Amiens Cathedrale Notre Dame.- Rose du transept sud.jpg, Flamboyant rose window of the south transept (16th c.)


The organ

The first organ in the cathedral was a gift from Alphonse Lemire, an official of the court of King
Charles VI of France Charles VI (3 December 136821 October 1422), called the Beloved (french: le Bien-Aimé) and later the Mad (french: le Fol or ''le Fou''), was King of France The monarchs of the Kingdom of France The Kingdom of France ( fro, Reaume de Fr ...

Charles VI of France
. It was installed on the interior of the west wall of the Cathedral, below the rose window, between 1442 and 1449. All that remains of this organ is wooden tribune, lavishly decorated with Flamboyant Gothic carvings. The current pipes and buffet were installed in 1549, with additions in 1620. It was restored in the 19th century and again shortly before World War II. File:537 - Cathédrale grand orgue - Amiens.jpg, The Cathedral organ File:Amiens Cathédrale Notre-Dame Innen Orgel 2.jpg, The Flamboyant decoration of the organ (15th century)


Light show - the façade in colour

During the process of laser cleaning in the 1990s, it was discovered that the western façade of the cathedral was originally painted in multiple colours. A technique was perfected to determine the exact make-up of the colours as they were applied in the 13th century. Then, in conjunction with the laboratories of Électricité de France, EDF and the expertise of the Society Skertzo, elaborate lighting techniques were developed to project these colours directly on the façade with precision, recreating the polychromatic appearance of the 13th century. When projected on the statues around the portals, the result is a stunning display that brings the figures to life. The projected colors are faint to photograph, but a good quality digital single-lens reflex camera, DSLR camera provides excellent results, as shown below. The full effect of the colour may be best appreciated by direct viewing, with musical accompaniment, which can be done at the ''Son et lumière (show), Son et lumière'' shows which are held on Summer evenings, during the Christmas Fair, and over the New Year.Official site of the polychromatic façade of the cathedral
File:Amiens cathedral Son et lumière 005.JPG, Sound and light show – central portal File:Amiens Cathédrale Spectacle 190908 03.jpg, Portal illuminated to suggest original colours File:Amiens cathedral Son et lumière 003.JPG, Sound and light show – central portal


Notable burials and memorials

*Elisabeth, Countess of Vermandois, wife of Philip I, Count of Flanders *Charles de Hémard de Denonville, Catholic bishop and cardinal *Antoine de Créqui Canaples (heart only), Catholic bishop and cardinal ;Memorials *The cathedral's south door contains eleven memorial tablets to commemorate the war dead from World War I, mainly the Battle of the Somme. Nations commemorated are mostly Memorial tablets to the British Empire dead of the First World War#Amiens Cathedral tablets, British Empire and dominions (modern-day countries of Republic of Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). *Notable individuals commemorated include French World War I general Marie-Eugène Debeney, British Army officer Raymond Asquith and French World War II general Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque.


Notes and citations


Bibliography and sources

* * * * *
Amiens Cathedral.
Encyclopædia Britannica Online, 6 December 2006.
Amiens Cathedral – World Heritage Site
*"Amiens Cathedral, under Renovation."

, A. D. White Architectural Photographs Collection, Cornell University Rare and Manuscript Collections (5/5/3090.01261) *


Further reading

* *


See also

*
High Gothic High Gothic is a particularly refined and imposing style of Gothic architecture Gothic architecture (or pointed architecture) is an architectural style that was particularly popular in Europe from the late 12th century to the 16th century ...
*
Rayonnant In French Gothic architecture, Rayonnant () is the period from about the mid-13th century to mid-14th century. It was characterized by a shift away from the High Gothic search for increasingly large size toward more spatial unity, refined decora ...
* Gothic Architecture * Gothic cathedrals and churches * List of Gothic Cathedrals in Europe


External links


Official Website

Amiens Cathedral images, 360° panoramas, and essays.
In "Mapping Gothic France," a database created by Columbia University and Vassar College.
Outstanding photos of the cathedralPhotos
*[http://www.calou.com/amiens Photos of the magnificent reproduction of the cathedral colors by laser projection] *
Youtube page of Amiens Videos
produced by the Media Center for Art History at Columbia University for the Core Curriculum class "Masterpieces of Western Art"
Photos of the Amiens Cathedral (polish)
*High-resolution 360° Panoramas and Images o
Amiens Cathedral , Art Atlas
{{Authority control Buildings and structures completed in 1270 13th-century Roman Catholic church buildings in France, Amiens World Heritage Sites in France Roman Catholic cathedrals in France Buildings and structures in Amiens, Cathedral Landmarks in France Basilica churches in France Churches in Somme (department) Gothic architecture in France Burial sites of the Herbertien dynasty Monuments of the Centre des monuments nationaux