Martin M. Miles

Martin M. Miles

Posted on 05/24/2014

Photo taken on August  1, 2013

See also...

Région Centre-Val de Loire Région Centre-Val de Loire

Eglises de France Eglises de France

gothic architecture gothic architecture


Weighing of Souls
Last Judgement
Bourges Cathedral

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Bourges Cathedral

Bourges Cathedral
Late afternoon sun in Bourges. The "Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Bourges" was erected as a replacement for a 11th-century structure. The construction started probably in the last quarter of the 12th century, around the same time, when the builders and bricklayers started in Chartres. The choir of the cathedral was in use by 1214, the nave was finished 1255. The cathedral was consecrated in 1324.

The western facade was finished by 1270. It is very wide (42m), as the four side aisles and central nave each have their own portal. This is the tympanum of the center-portal, the largest and most ornate and sophisticated one.

The "Last Judgment", a popular theme already on Romanesque churches (eg Conques, Autun, Moissac, Sangüesa) is seen on the tympanum in a delicate Gothic style.

Here is the center of the middle level. Archangel Michael holds a scale doing the "Weighing of the Souls". He holds his arm around the small (innocent) soul on is side, while the grim looking, bearded, hook-nosed devil is waiting eagerly..

The souls on the left, entering heaven, have a faint smile on their faces, a smile I saw in Reims (and Bamberg) as well.

Since 1992 the cathedral is a "UNESCO World Heritage Site".

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