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Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres et Saint-Sernin Essay

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It’s the tenth of June in the year 1194. In a few hours’ time, the people of Chartres, France will awaken to the sound of crackling flames and the smell of thick, black smoke. This is the night that much of Chartres will burn to the ground, but the devastation will also include the destruction of the Notre-Dame de Chartres church. While some parts of the church have survived even to the present day, much of the original structure was consumed or severely damaged (Harriss). In this paper, I will be showing the key differences between the Romanesque and Gothic styles respectively, and how the existing Romanesque churches were converted to the new style.
Nearly 400 miles south of Chartres is the charming town of Toulouse, France. Now home to one of the most well-known of the Romanesque churches, Toulouse was once an important site for pilgrims traveling across Europe on a journey down to Old Saint Peter’s. During the Middle Ages into the Gothic period, the pilgrimage to Rome was less about the end result than it was about the journey there. Europe was littered with dozens of pilgrimage churches, each housing precious relics that had once belonged to Christ, the Blessed Virgin, and the saints. The difficult trek made it the ultimate way to atone for one’s sins, particularly if one was determined and visited all of the correct churches in Europe. And yet, the pilgrims were all united as they attended Mass at each church; no matter where they were on the continent, the Eucharisst was celebrated in Greek, and then in Latin towards the end of the period (Fischer). In the case of Toulouse, it was home to Saint-Sernin. Like most churches on the pilgrim’s path, it was massive, capable of holding a large number of pilgrims. It’s q...


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... be commended. It was time for a change, as the people of France raced to create the tallest cathedrals, renewing their interest in their faith. And that is one of the reasons why these churches needed to be recreated at these intervals. Renewing one’s faith in God is a precious thing indeed.



Works Cited

Bishop, Philip E. Adventures in the Human Spirit. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education Inc., 2011. Print.
Fischer, Julia C. "Chartres Cathedral." Fischer Art History. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Dec. 2013.
Harrisss, Joseph A. "Monument To The Age Of Faith." American Spectator 41.8 (2008): 68-70. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 2 Dec. 2013.
Macaulay, David. Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1973. Print.
"Stained Glass of Chartres Cathedral." Chartres Cathedral. Chartrescathedral.net, n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2013.



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