Reims Cathedral

Reims Cathedral is a masterpiece of French Gothic

In the heart of the province of France champagne is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture – Reims Cathedral ( Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims ).

According to the legend, on the eve of the baptism of Clovis was a miracle, from heaven descended dove, and brought in its beak a chrism for the anointing of the king. Clovis was the first king crowned in Reims. It was after this event began the tradition of the coronation of the kings of France in Reims Cathedral.

The history of the construction of the Cathedral

The history of the construction of the Cathedral has more than a century, it began in 817, but in 1210 the Cathedral was burnt down completely. The construction of the new building was started in g. and continued till 1481.

Builders, unlike the architects of Chartres Cathedral, is absolutely not considered as remnants of a Romanesque building. Thus, the new Cathedral is a holistic, built on a single building. Inscriptions destroyed in 1779 “labyrinth” of the floor, laid out around 1290, has preserved the names of the architects and give quite some information about the construction.

The history of the Cathedral in Reims is the history and several generations of architects, who erected the temple, according to the chronicler, “with great diligence and care”. Architects, artists and artisans, generation after generation worked on the construction of the Cathedral, created the monument, in which with great force embodied the true spirit of the French people.

The plan of the Cathedral by the architect Jean d Orb. For his project, the Cathedral was supposed to represent a three-nave Basilica, three-nave intersected by a transept. But in place of Jean d Orb came Jean de Luz, and then Gautier de Reims, Bernard de Soissons, the latter belongs the idea of the rose-window on the Western facade of the Cathedral. The “gallery of Kings” and the tower built up to the year 1311 Robert de coucy. Upper stories of the towers were completed around 1427, but the tents high above the towers were never built. The intent of the builders, they had to marry a giant sharp-pointed spires. In the project, and five more towers of the Cathedral was originally the Church was conceived seven towers.

Despite the protracted period of construction and different architects, the Cathedral has preserved its unity of purpose: a variety of talents built the Cathedral architects merged in a real rock Symphony.

Today, Reims Cathedral is the pride of the French people, his precious relic, one of the attractions of France .

You can’t help but notice that the building seemed to grow out of the ground, rising, tier over tier, if you can split the many pointed arches, steep triangular Gables and a pyramidal of spires. The massiveness of the Cathedral disappears somewhere giant temple length of 150 meters with two 80-meter towers rapidly soars to the sky.

The Cathedral is decorated with more than 2,300 sculptures, no wonder it is so often called “the realm of sculpture”, among them images of kings, knights, saints, artisans and even the devil. The most famous sculpture of Reims Cathedral is the “Smiling angel” or “the Smile of Reims”. But the figure of Atlanta with a distorted grimace – a prototype of Quasimodo from Victor Hugo’s novel. On the portals depicts various scenes: the last Judgment, the coronation of the virgin and the passion of the Christ. In the gallery of French kings 56 is enormous statues. In the center – the king of Clovis with St. Remigius and his wife Clotilde.

Unfortunately, many of the sculptures of Rheims Cathedral has not survived, some of them are permanently gone, and the part was replaced with copies. But from the thirteenth century preserved most of the reliefs. Foremost among them is the song “Mary’s visit to Elizabeth”, located to the right of the main entrance. Due to the amazing proximity to the monuments of Ancient Greece it is called “a Greek moment of Gothic sculpture.” The name of the genius author of these sculptures is unknown. The researchers were able to establish that he was one of the first artists who participated, about 1220, in the decoration of the Cathedral. Probably, he was head of the sculpture Studio, and many statues of Reims Cathedral bear the stamp of his original talent.

Reims Cathedral is an unsurpassed architectural complex. Amazing stained glass window-roses are fine examples of medieval art. For example, a large rose on the Northern facade tells the story of the creation of the world: in the centre is Christ, on the petals – image of Adam and eve, Cain and Abel, angels, and animals.

Sorry, Reims Cathedral had to go through a lot of changes since its creation. The building was severely damaged not only from the countless attacks and the French revolution, but also from the events of the First world war. The building was almost in ruins. Its restoration was only completed in 1938, but the stained glass was restored only in 1974, based on sketches by Marc Chagall. For this reason visitors most often can only admire the copies of famous statues and stained glass Windows. Due to the fact that Notre-Dame de Reims — the highest Cathedral in France (its height is 82 meters), and also because of its exceptional uniqueness, it is in the registry of UNESCO world heritage since 1991.

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