Masters and Finials

Historical excursions

Masters and Finials

(construction of Gothic cathedrals in Western Europe)

– What are you doing? – addressed to the masters of the stranger.

– Hew the stone, that he said first.

I don’t see clay rowed, – muttered the second.

– I’m building Chartres Cathedral, ‘ said the third.

An old proverb

The dimensions of the Cathedral – that was a matter of prestige and rivalry of cities. Famous temples of the Greeks inferior in magnitude even the most “mediocre” temples of the middle ages. The Parthenon housed under Cathedral arches, as a major exhibit in the exhibition hall.

Cathedral of the Gothic times was revered not only by the house of the Lord and the faithful. The Cathedral in Amiens, for example, covered seven thousand square meters and was able to hide when needed outside the walls of the entire population of the city. In the enormous halls of the Cathedral the sound spread without encountering barriers. Weak, even the voice of the old priest hummed under the arches, as the voice of God. The children’s choir sang a thousand of the angels. The powerful sound of the body struck the imagination of pilgrims and forced to tremble a thick plate.

Tested on the construction of an English Cathedral in Mergeme (XI century) innovation – arches and stone servermessage – spread throughout Europe. Wall grew like a tree trunk with many branches – one arch was based on another, the second to the third, arch stood on the shoulders of the arch. Intermediate support and heavy slab, limiting the amount of buildings that are no longer needed, the mighty buttresses placed outside of buildings.

The Cathedral was not only the ecclesiastical but also the secular center. Here they were deliberating fathers of the city, there were shows that was the deal. The current stained glass historians rightly qualify as a typical visual encyclopedia. The extant regulations of those years “Not to crowd the halls of the House” give every reason to think that the Church rooms were like at the debating club.

The desire of each city to have “firsts” the Cathedral was called not only insatiable vanity, but a practical need. Considerations of prestige to justify any cost, as soon they talked about his Cathedral. Here is a brief account of big races medieval skyscrapers:

The spire of the Paris Cathedral of Notre Dame, founded in 1135, he was received up to 35 meters. In 1194 Chartres Cathedral passed him – 36, 45 meters. The year 1212, the Cathedral in Reims is 39 meters. Amiens, 1221 year – a strong pull, 42 meters! But even just four years, and has beaten all the records of the Cathedral in Beauvais – 49 meters!…

The lion’s share of funds for the construction of the cathedrals were donations. Before the Cathedral was collected of the parishioners, the parishioners gathered – in-the-money, jewels, in nature. At the Church door opened noisy closeout “natural” donations: shoes and wine barrels, canvas and circles of cheese paid in specie.

Often the collected money was not enough. And half-built walls stood for years through the stones sprouted grass. Until a new tide of enthusiasm. In the fall collectors fasten with a Church relics and went to get money to the villages. In the spring they returned to their abandoned Cathedral walls, and if the Treasury was still poor, the Church is promised spiritual forgiveness to anyone who will bring a hunk of rock, bag of sand or rubble. It was during the construction of the Cathedral of St. James in the Spanish city of Compostella, the center of the famous knightly order. Thousands of the faithful, before entering the city, delivered a block of stone in a neighbouring Castendo, where he worked as a kiln. Absolution was the best-selling product…

A happy discovery was honored with the opportunity to dismantle the old building near the construction site. “The Cathedral, half destroyed – already half built,” was taught a saying. When money was scarce, stone was selected with the analysis. For St. Peter’s Basilica Venice sent ships to Athens and Sicily.

About the people who built the cathedrals, little is known. They are not eloquent chronicle, and the decayed leaves of payrolls. You can learn accounting the builders of the Cathedral in Aachen: daily earnings of digger or one who brings the stones to seven denier, the masters of masonry twenty – two denier. In the lists of the meet and female names – that is, a certain “Isabelle-shtukaturschitsa” earned three su.

The Egyptian pyramids were built by tens of thousands of people. During the construction of the Gothic cathedrals worked a hundred other of the same masters. Used to come to work for charitable endeavours in the hope of gaining forgiveness and a noble Lord. The use of them, however, were few. The story of the repentant sinner, count Renaud de Montauban, indicates a useless statement of safety, “But he was so careless that someone’s hammer hit him on the head, and his body fell into the Rhine”.

Until the Renaissance, according to the Charter Boileau, builders, sculptors, freshpics was not seen as an art. The results of work not accepted to associate with the names. However, this did not apply to architects.

“Go around and show his hands and get the money as everything,” reproachfully spoke about the architects of the medieval moralist. Their position was far from brilliant. The architect took the house with a piece of land, complained winter coat, supplied firewood. That was enough to keep the poor author for the duration of the works. The highest honor was to remain in his offspring forever, last night to sleep under its arches. This honor was awarded to Jean from Shelley, the Builder of the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

And that name would have been lost in the century, as hundreds of other, if not for the devotion of his disciple and follower, Pierre from Montale. It is Pierre de Monteil, author and Builder of the rich Abbey of Saint-Denis in the suburbs of Paris, became the first doctor of architecture. The title of this was “ripped out” by architects from the fight – desperately protested the lawyers.

What to say, to put the autograph I wanted. Architect and sculptor, the master of Pilgrim carved his self-portrait under the stairs of the pulpit in the Cathedral of St. Stephen in Vienna, the author of which he was. It was a crime, but glimmer of the dawn of the Renaissance…

Sometimes about the autograph of the past masters cared descendants. Mentioned Pierre de Monteil ordered to immortalize the name of his teacher: “Maitre Jean from Shelley began the construction of the second of the month of February, 1258,” reads the inscription engraved in the base of the South portal of Notre-Dame de Paris. While the modern restorer (yet unknown descendants) gave the wicked time to the person of St. Thomas similarities with its predecessor – eugène violla-Duke, restavriroval Notre Dame in the last century. The Apostle Thomas is the first in a series of saints in the Central spire of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. In Catholic tradition he is the patron of builders…

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