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Beauvais Cathedral

Beauvais, France, Beauvais Cathedral, SE exterior view

The unfinished cathedral of Beauvais (Cathedrale Saint-Pierre de Beauvais) is the last of the great cathedrals of France Ile-de-France. The construction stagnated twice by major collapse, so that eventually only the choir was completed. With a roof height of 48 meters is the choir of Saint Pierre higher than any cathedral in the French royal heart country. At the place where once the ship had to be built, is still a part of the Romanesque old building, Notre-Dame de la Basse OEuvre (low work)-b-.
The choir with ambulatory and radiating chapels built in a style referred to as rayon ante (radiant) Gothic, the second phase of the High Gothic that was typified by the attention to lighting effects, transparency and verticality. The revolt of the choir consists of an arcade, triforium and clerestory. The design is clearly inspired by the Cathedral of Amiens, which suggests that Robert de Luzarches - architect of the cathedral in Amiens - was involved also in the design of Beauvai.


The construction of the apse and the choir began in 1247 and was completed in 1272. Twelve years later, on November 29, 1284, the roof collapsed down, probably due to span the space between the pillars was too big. During the rebuilding, pillars were added. Through this intervention halved the bays, from 9 meters to 4.5 meters. The new choir was beginning 14th century completed, but work on the church in 1337 was again interrupted, this time by the Hundred Years War and subsequent occupation by the English.
By 1500, work resumed, led by architect Martin Chambiges. There was only one choir with a crown of chapels - the rest (the transept and the ship), it was not yet arrived. At last it was possible to begin construction of the transept. Through an unfortunate decision by the bishop and the chapter structure would still get a huge backlash. In 1544, when the transept was approaching completion, the bishop with the chapter decided that the celebration a brick tower was erected. The spectacular tower of 153 meters was completed in 1569 and stayed four years standing. On Ascension Day in 1573 plunged the ambitious edifice together.

After 1600

Afterwards, there are sporadic attempts to continue to build the church, but these efforts never obtained the required momentum. The transept dates are from the 17th century. Despite the abrupt transition from the high Gothic Romanesque choir to the low-rise buildings, the cathedral over the centuries has a lot of admiration from onlookers. Eugene Viollet-le-Duc said the choir of the church in Beauvais "the Parthenon of French Gothic". Ruskin wrote in The Seven Lamps of Architecture in awe: "Even in the Alps, there are few purely vertical rock walls, the choir of Beauvais in height".
By some architectural historians is the cathedral of Beauvais forward as turning point in the life of the Gothic. According to this view, the Gothic reaches its pinnacle creative and constructive in the High Gothic (the Sainte-Chapelle), after which the downturn hit. Construction became thinner and thinner and left the spectacle prevail over constructive sense. With the disaster in Beauvais in 1284 ended the development of the great cathedrals of the Ile-de-France.