Monday, 6 February 2012

Auxerre - the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne - interior

The Rose & Lancet windows on the South Side

Lillian :  As promised, this post will be all about the inside of Auxerre's Cathédrale Saint-Étienne.
Audrey :  No photos of us dollies this time.  Let's start with some of the stained glass windows.

The Rose window on the North

Lillian :  Lots of blue & red glass in these windows depicting various biblical and saints' stories.

Lillian :  More blue around a rather grumpy looking Jesus surrounded by the animals & angel that represent the 4 evangelists - St Matthew / angel, St John / eagle, St Luke / bull & St Mark / lion.

Audrey :  Perhaps he is grumpy because the window needs some cleaning? 

Audrey :  This marvelous window shows Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc) - it is not as old as the others and is signed "Ed. Socard ... Paris 1914"

Lillian :  According to Auxerre's Office of Tourism's web site  "Joan of Arc came through Auxerre on two occasions. The first time was on 27 February 1429 ... she stopped off in Auxerre to hear the mass at Saint-Etienne Cathedral and to pray. The second time was on 1 July 1429: the Auxerre residents refused to open up the town to King Charles VII and Joan of Arc who were walking to Reims. They only agreed to offer supplies in exchange for money. They had negotiated with the lord of Trimouille, in return for a sum of money, so as to remain neutral in the conflict between the King, the Burgundians and the English. "

Audrey :  Here is a close up of the angel - lots of lovely blues & pinks.

Audrey : With all of that wonderful coloured glass in the windows you get pools of coloured light on the floor & walls - like this...
Lillian : Such intense colour in the glass was expensive - the ruby red was made using gold (gold chloride)  the blue was cobalt ... this web site has a list for the colours in glass.

Lillian : Architecturally this Cathedral is quite lovely inside - here we look along the nave into the sanctuary.   Lovely & lofty with lots of vertical lines, high windows and vaulting.

Audrey : What sort of vault are they?  And did you notice that some are red, some white?

LillianGroin vaults, sometimes called Cross vaults ...

Audrey :  Let's use the 2nd name.

Lillian : OK, here we are looking up into that decorated vault - I think this is where the Sanctuary, which was built in the early 1200s, and the later (1300s) Nave meet.
Audrey : What about this vaulting? 

 Lillian : Oh dear - we really need an expert on all this architecture - but I think that is probably Ribbed Vaulting, it is very elegant with the those thin pillars.  I also think some of the window on the RH side needs cleaning.

Audrey :  There are some really old, Romanesque, Frescoes, which were very difficult to photograph as they are quite faint - guess I would be too if I were so ancient.   The people all in a row are all wearing bishops' hats and have their names written underneath, the one in the middle is St Romanus - next to him, in the yellow is St Etherius, Bishop of Auxerre - and the seated bishop on the edge is named as St Agnarius (might be a strange spelling of Ignatius).

  Lillian :  Some more frescoes and usually a saint holding a lamb is St Agnes but that saint has a beard, perhaps he is John the Baptist but I don't know who the other person is.
 Audrey :  Hmmm, I like that nice pointy version of a Bishops' hat. 

Let's finish with some more random photos of the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne - things that caught our fancy, though we are not quite sure what they are all about!
Lillian :  This column top is a bit naughty - seems not everything in a Cathedral is high-minded and spiritual.
Audrey :  There were some ancient tomb-stones set into the floor and we liked this bit of carving - bones all tied up like a gift for a dog - or pirate!

And finally - this chap caught in a strong up-draft - or perhaps he was an early experimenter in the effects of electricity.

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