Sunday, May 17, 2009

Chartres Cathedral, North Porch.

The North Porch was the only one I spent a lot of time photographing. I'd read up a bit about it before, and some more afterwards. Somehow it was never the moment to take pictures of the West Porch, which is older, and which I expected to be more taken with, and I suppose in a way I was, but it was different; there always seemed to be something distracting, or more important going on. The South Porch was largely in the process of restoration, and was forbidding.

1. Satan glorying over Job on the dungheap; 'going to and fro in the world and walking up and down in it...'
2. Adam and Eve, I think, chucked out of The Garden.
3. Clenching.
4. Balaam giving the Queen of Sheba the glad eye, who seems unimpressed.
5. The sign of Cancer in the zodiac, right hand portal. A lobster. Why settle for crab when you can have lobster?
6. Abraham and Isaac.
7. Aquarius in the zodiac.
8. A city of stone in a capital.
9. Gemini. I'm sure some amusing caption could be found for these two, but I'll leave it to sharper wits than mine.
10. Potiphar's wife, taking advice from a rather dodgy quarter.
11. Pisces.
12. Simeon. 'Lettest now thy servant depart in peace...'
13. The socle of Solomon's statue, looks like he's taking a thorn from his foot.
14. Seated king, and friend.
15. A scene I've not been able to make sense of from the life of the Virgin.
16. Moses. Michaelangelo gave him horns too.
17. A dragonish beast.
18. Judith's dog, a symbol of her fidelity, both to her husband and her people, which she preserved by only pretending to offer herself to the Babylonian general Holofernes, then when he got riproaring drunk in celebration of his good luck, she cut his head off.
19. Earth, air and water.
20. John the Baptist.
21. Isaac's bound feet, and the ram that was sacrificed instead.
22. The Visitation. Mary and her cousin Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist. The Second Joyful Mystery. 'My soul doth magnify the Lord...'. Even if you don't buy into any of that, this is a beautiful, timeless, soulful piece of sculpture. Eight hundred years is as nothing.

(Go on, click on it!)


Zhoen said...

In the first Sister Wendy series, she says that, unlike technology, the thing about art is that it changes, but doesn't get better.

We used to catch her show right before Dr. Who, late on Saturday nights, along with Rick Steve's Europe. We called them the Buck-Toothed Nun and the Boring Traveler. Loved them all the same.

HLiza said...

In Islam we're not allowed to portray the prophets in any artistic ways fearing that people might believe that's really how they looked like..Isaac, Moses and Jesus are some of them. But I would be just like drawn into these magnificent arts if I were there. There's so much beauties and stories in each of these sculptures..I'll spend years marvelling in them. Thank you Lucy for this wonderful collage. I did enlarge it and was awed by the uniqueness of each and every single one of them. LOvely.

Peter said...

I saw Chartres as a teenager, and I didn't slow down long enough to find out what was what. I also don't remember the characters being this interesting.

That devil and Job one is great.

Plutarch said...

I have never been to Chartres but these photographs and captions make me long to go. They are better, much better than a guide book - little masterpieces with that honest naivety which you often find in anonymous art and which comes to the point with such truth.

Jean said...

J'aime beaucoup votre choix de photographies .
Oui , cette cathédrale est un monument extraordinaire !
Ce qui me touche le plus , c'est de penser que cette merveille a été construite il y a si longtemps , à une époque où les outils étaient rustiques , pas d'ordinateurs pour les calculs d'architecte , pas d'élévateurs pour monter les lourdes pierres ...etc ...
Mais quelle beauté , quelle expression !

The Crow said...

I could get lost in the art of this town, I think.