The Basilica Of St. Sernin: Traditional Romanesque Architecture In Toulouse, France

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The Basilica of St. Sernin is in Toulouse, France and represents traditional Romanesque architecture. St. Sernin is known for its vast amount of quality Romanesque sculpture. While the architect is unknown, the stone-vaulted building was built to honor the first bishop of Toulouse, Saint Saturnin, who was martyred in 250 C.E. The Basilica of St. Sernin gained importance after Charlemagne donated many relics in order for the church to gain visitors on their pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres on the other hand is located in Chartres, France. The cathedral was reconstructed between 1194 and 1250 and is a prime example of High Gothic architecture. Notre Dame means “Our Lady” which refers to the Virgin Mary, accordingly it has a strong…show more content…
Sernin is very horizontal with a modest height while Chartres Cathedral is vertical and seems as though it is reaching up to heaven. Chartres Cathedral has pointed arches unlike St. Sernin’s rounded Roman style arches. Chartres compared to St. Sernin is very ornate with lots of sculpture on the exterior while St. Sernin has very stylized, flat decoration such as the ambulatory relief of “Christ in Majesty.” The sculpture of Chartres is realistic in terms of proportion and personalized features. The sculpture on St. Sernin is frontal, elongated, stiff and quite abstract. However, both churches feature a tympanum at the doorway to the church. The tympanum at St. Sernin on the south exterior is called Porte des Comtes and Porte Migeville. The Porte des Comtes depicts scenes from Lazarus and Dives and Porte Migeville refers to the churches close proximity to town and depicts the Ascension in a very literal way. Chartres Cathedral also has a tympanum on the west facade that depicts Christ’s Ascension, the Second Coming and Jesus in the lap of the Virgin Mary. Chartres is a prime example of how the high Gothic era eliminated the second story gallery that was typically used in Romanesque

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