Cathedral of Strasbourg
At a time where the french flag again at the top of the arrow of Strasbourg, where the old cathedral speaks in the eyes and hearts of all as a symbol of the present provinces, it seems natural to seek to know his story and familiarize yourself with its beauties. We will see it just now as a whole and in its details, but before coming to the views, we will recall quickly what we know different phases of its construction, its architects, events which she was theatre.
Strasbourg Cathedral is, as a whole, a Gothic work, that is built according to the principles invented towards the middle of the 12th century by the architects of the Ile-de-France, the crossroads of warhead and the flying buttresses, earlier the same views show us what mean these terms, and the special physiognomy that these new processes gave to churches, indoors and outdoors, but the Cathedral of Strasbourg is not completely Gothic. She has older parts, and which relate to the Romanesque art. These Romanesque elements themselves were built on the ruins of older buildings which are poorly known to us: we have yet a description in Latin Verse of the Carolingian Church of which we have no architectural traces, and we know that this Carolingian Church was preceded, on the same site, by other older churches, including the first seemed to go back to the 4th century, at the same time of the founding of the bishopric of Strasbourg.
Strasbourg, placed on the very road leading from Rome North of Gaul, had evangelized from the early centuries of Christianity, and its geographical position named to be one center of culture, religious or otherwise.
The oldest part of the Cathedral of Strasbourg is the crypt or underground Church, a beautiful crypt long and wide, the most beautiful of the few Crypts of Alsace; It is divided into two parts from different eras, including the oldest, to the East, back at the beginning of the 11th century, at the time or the Bishop Wernher, helped quests and chores by faithful, began the construction of the new Cathedral to replace the looting and the infighting of the years which preceded the advent of the Emperor Henri II had put in ruins and only a terrible fire ignited by lightning had completed to destroy. In this part of the crypt, the vault is in cradle, and the bases of the columns are still almost ancient. The western part, which is younger than half a century, or even a little more, presents vaults of edge, this Romanesque arch, formed by the two demi-cylindres penetration, which is already a first step towards the arch in gothic vaults. The bases of the columns have claws, and the capitals are cubic, which is a common form in the Rhenish school and speaks of byzantine influence.
Part of the Cathedral which is located above the crypt, i.e. the apse and choir, is older than the rest of the Cathedral, but was nevertheless not beyond the middle or perhaps even of the linen from the 12th century. In the Ile-de-France, at that time, were already built large Gothic churches, the choir took great importance, it surrounded it by an ambulatory which opened radiating chapels, it lengthened the apse itself of several straight spans which gave sanctuary to the proportions of a small church: here, nothing like that, the apse, as at the most remote times, is what a sort of large semi-circular chapel directly adjacent to the transept and who abruptly ends the Church side is. The exterior of the building is not visible on this side, because the flat wall that ends it is appended to the Gallery of the seminary, built in the 18th century to replace the former cloister.
The choir, instead of as it is usually in the aisles that follow the apse, is postponed here in the square of the transept, which is at the very center of the cross drawn by the plan of the Cathedral between the nave and the apse on the one hand and the two braces on the other hand. This part below is roughly the same date as the apse, and yet entirely of Romanesque style; It is covered with a cupola on pendentives which is based on four huge bundles of columns. This square of transept, a little lower than the apse, still dominates the naves and the transept of thirteen markets.
With the transept, we enter the Gothic period. The Northern Cross, both styles are still mixed: there, in the wall is a small portal of drawing purely Romanesque, topped by a triangular pediment. the great pillar that divides in two-Aisled transept is a round pillar at novel marquee, and however the vaults are crossed warheads, so purely Gothic; South arm, on the contrary, the Gothic asserts itself victorious, and it is here that we find the first of many loans made to the churches of the Ile-de-France, and which are of the Cathedral of Strasbourg, not, as it was believed to long, the masterpiece of German Gothic architecture, but a work especially French inspiration. At the time of the cathedrals, Strasbourg was a land of empire, and the Germany has always claimed it as Siena. She did an aureole of glory to the one believed to have been the main architect, and known to the thing not big bottom of certain, except the date of his death. We will see instead that Strasbourg Cathedral was built by architects who, if they were not french, at least knew the art of France very closely.
Mr. Mâle has shown how in every part of the building you can find one or several french models imitated in their outlines and their details. He was German in the Cathedral of Strasbourg, as discussed earlier, that the towers and the arrow.
The south transept, completed arm towards the middle of the 13th century, derives from the Cathedral of Chartres. The facade, where the doors are surmounted by a floor of masonry mullioned, dominated windows itself by roses composed of small circles arranged in two rows around a central circle, is not the copy of the beautiful facade of the royal portal, but it is visibly inspired.
And, above all, that in the transept of Strasbourg reminds Chartres, is the pillar of the angels, a charming and original work that we will see at the time. This is the great pillar placed in the center of the arm of the transept, probably to reduce the difficulties of construction and divide into four surface to hunch. It flanks of four high columns, separated by three floors of statues superimposed in shortcut doomsday. Can be found at the North porch of the Cathedral of Chartres the model of these statues, their draperies, the dais which surmounts them, and especially in the way of lean them.
The transept barely finished, it began the nave. French imitation is here more apparent yet, but this is no longer a Chartres which is the model, it is Saint-Denis, not the first Church of Saint-Denis, Suger had built and who was the inspiration for almost all the first Gothic buildings, but the Basilica rebuilt in saint Louis by Pierre de Montereau. Imitation is striking, and the copy deviates just of the model by a few details, and yet the overall impression remains very different.
The architect of Strasbourg did not have hands free, it did not scratch, he instead had to adapt to a choir and a transept already existing, and he needed to comply with given dimensions for the width and height. This explains the appearance of the nave of Strasbourg, much more stout, much less slender than the usual Gothic naves. In height, the architect has won everything he could, and filed much the roof of the apse; He has even hidden in part the tower built above the square of the transept and the bottom one is old.
Aside from the question of proportions, for which the architect was not free, the nave is the exact copy of Saint-Denis. There was barely twenty years that Pierre de Montereau had rebuilt Saint-Denis; at that time all the great cathedrals were built. Chartres, Reims, Amiens, Beauvais had amplified and embellished the model that gave them the first Saint-Denis, each marking a step forward in boldness, in light, in perfection in the form which washed preceded. Pierre de Montereau innovates and perfects in his turn, and the most striking novelty of his Church, it is the triforium glazed. So-called triforium the small gallery of movement, in the Gothic churches, located directly below the large windows, and which replaced the grandstands of the Romanesque churches after will be first superimposed. Until then the triforium had been blind, that is, its arches stood on a solid wall. Saint-Denis, for the first time, the triforium is glazed, thus adding his light in the light of the windows, and advancing a step this problem of clarity who passionate Gothic architects and is at the origin of most of their innovations. They remained not there, the rest; the openwork triforium was soon added directly to the window, and then disappeared so as to turn the wall into a huge canopy. In Strasbourg, we find exactly the provisions of Saint-Denis: below the windows, the glass clerestories.
But this resemblance is not the only one, and the Strasbourg master adopted other innovations of Pierre de Montereau; Subsequently, he has transformed a beam of balusters pillars that rise all straight from the ground to the vault, without the usual judgment of the marquee, then, as it still, it has place in the aisles a round path that passes behind the pillars and front of the windows of the side walls, and Strasbourg as at Saint-Denis this path is supported on a base decorated with arches. It is virtually unknown in the Ile-de-France, common practice in the privateer in Champagne and Burgundy.
Apart from therefore the question of proportions, and unimportant details like roses of windows that recall rather those of the Sainte Chapelle in Paris (which Pierre de Montereau is the probable architect), the nave of Strasbourg is faithful imitation, copying almost, might say, from Saint-Denis.
The completed nave, it undertook the façade separated from the nave by a large narthex or vestibule, and here is the name of the famous architect who is frequently did honor to the whole Cathedral. This architect was master Erwin of Steinbach, who has been in the history of the Gothic art more room than his, and around which it built all a legend based on well little. Here's what we know about him positive:
In 1284, a document mentions no details "Meister Erwin Werkmeister", i.e. master Erwin master of eouvres, then in 1316, i.e. thirty-two years later, we find his signature on the railing of a chapel.
Two years after he died, and is recorded on his tombstone:"Magister Erwin Gubernator fabricafe ecclesie", i.e. master of L'Oeuvre Notre-Dame." And thats all, and it is even not absolutely sure that the first and the last two entries apply to the same individual in so many years of distance. As to the name of Steinbach, he was in an apocryphal inscription today disappeared. The Germans seized and decided that Erwin was born in the small village of Steinbach in the Grand Duchy of Baden, where they raised him a statue. But the tradition is based on very weak bases. It was embellished by adding to Erwin charming figure of his daughter Sabine, the legend as the author represents beautiful figures of the Church and the Synagogue to the south facade. We same accepted it by elevating Sabine and her father, towards the middle of the last century, two statues on the small surrounding place. But as the work attributed to the girl is good half a century earlier than the father, he has had staring it in the face.
Attributed to Erwin, not only of the facade, but still the almost all of the nave, rebuilt, said, after the great fire in 1298, but it is realized that this fire had hardly damaged the roof, and the nave, whose work had lasted twenty-five years, ended as we know it until it undertook the facade. The facade itself is not entirely of Erwin. It is him, it is believed at least, which had been the plan; He even had several successive plans that exist still in the DSN of the artwork showing the transformations of its primitive thought. But the facade as it was executed is fully compliant with any of these plans: Erwin died before him have completed, and his successors are well brought changes, which the most important was the cube of masonry which brings together the base of the two towers. Here again the influences of Ile-de-France are striking; this facade is the combination of the elements of the facades of Notre Dame de Paris, the main facade taken as a model for the outline of the construction and decoration borrowed from the facades of the transepts. We will look at things more in detail just - in-time with the projection of the facade under the eyes. Everything in this facade is yet not imitated. There is a detail that has prototype imitation or in french art nor in German art; It is a kind of gigantic clerestory thrown in front of the façade. "It looks, said Mr. Mâle, nerves stretched a huge harp. It seems that at the slightest breath throughout the Cathedral will vibrate. We are here taking the limits of art: architecture has the air you want to dissolve into music. »
According to the original plan, the façade of the Cathedral of Strasbourg was look to that of Notre Dame de Paris, not the silhouette almost square as we know it, but the current facade dominated by two high towers to arrows. We have seen that this plan was transformed: the space between the two towers was filled, the North Tower was raised much above the proportions provided for, then topped with a Spire that rises to one hundred forty-two metres above the ground. It is this work that merely the part of German architects. It is a Swabian, Ulrich of Ensingen, who at the beginning of the 15th century, raised the North Tower above the large, and was Jean Hultz in Cologne who built the arrow and finished in 1439. In the middle of the 17th century it was struck by lightning and had to rebuild the upper 20 metres. This gigantic Tower has been the admiration of the world; It gives the whole Cathedral wonderful impetus and lightness, but the arrow itself is a tour de force more than a work of art. Viollet-le-Duc j., somewhat severely, "a work missed, mediocre execution. But, if execution is a bit dry, if the details are too mathematical and monotonous, if even the General of the arrow line is broken by too many levels, the overall effect is striking and few buildings have moved as many cores of emotion where the sense of beauty is combined with the idea of homeland.
Such was Strasbourg Cathedral from the middle of the 15th century, a very old crypt, a Romanesque apse, a transept of the transition style, a nave and a pure french Gothic facade, finally an arrow which stood higher than all known arrows. Still need to add a number of chapels or other buildings dating from different periods: in the East, on both sides of the apse, and completed by the same wall as she did, two large chapels, which is almost entirely Romanesque and other primitive Gothic; North, an extension of the arm of the transept, the chapel Saint-Laurent, become sacristy, built at the end of the 15th century, while the lovely portal which has the same name and that we will see at the time. Then, facing on both sides of the first bays of the nave, two large chapels built two hundred years apart, one at the 14th, another in the 16th century. Finally, at the corner northeast of the Cathedral, it arose in the 18th century a large Octagon Room, known as the sacristy of the chapter. The outside of the side aisles is hidden at the bottom by a series of arches of a pretty fanciful Gothic: in the middle-ages the Cathedral was completely surrounded by buildings, houses, shops etc; in the 18th century it cleared the western façade, is established the forecourt, and along the lateral facades were destroyed all the small shops acolees to the foothills. It was rebuilt a little more forward, so the danger of fire, and on masked them behind the arches, which exist; in the last century it destroyed all the small shops on the north side, but they left remain those of the side South which are still home to the construction of the Cathedral.
But the Cathedral has a different story than that of its construction. She was intimately involved in the lives of Strasbourg, and it is impossible to separate the history of the city from the Church. The feudal time, Strasbourg depended on its Bishop, who since the 10th century was master ruler at his home. But the city did not always accept with good grace this authority granted by the Emperor, and the struggles between Strasbourg and its bishops have remained famous. Very quickly, as early as the 12th century, she obtained of the emperors of the immunities and privileges, and she was the first Imperial City of Alsace. The Bishop received as compensation the title of prince, but his power was strongly shaken in the town itself, because it was master a le dehors d' an important area which had up to 115 towns, villages or hamlets. Strasbourg was struggling against its bishops, and, to mid-15th century, after be revolted against one of them, Guillaume de Dietz, and him have held prisoner in the sacristy of the Cathedral, she forced him, and his successors after him, to reside in Saverne and Strasbourg. It is only under Louis XIV that the prince Bishop will be able to resume in the city its place and rank.
Free of the annoying power of its Bishop and become Imperial City, Strasbourg had enjoyed almost complete freedom; It is administered without any control and always refused to take the oath. It is officially called 'Republic', she receives the Emperor offers him gifts, but doesn't execute orders than those that appeal to him. It is actually a free city, "Freie Reichsstadt".
But if the political history of Strasbourg touches close to the Cathedral, one can say that its religious history is happening.
At the end of the 15th century the religious struggles that had to take both strength and passion to the next century begin to manifest, and is the Cathedral which is the scene of the initial discussions. They were Dominicans who were responsible for the preaching at the Cathedral, but their credit declined much, and their sermons were far from satisfy everyone at a time where the doctrines of the Waldensians and Hussites already churned consciences. A few citizens of Strasbourg cotisèrent to bring a secular preacher, doctor of theology, to combat the abuse and the spirit of relaxation of the Church. Was built to use beautiful stone Chair that we will admire at the time. The first of these preachers was Jean Geyler of Kaysersberg, who preached vehemently for 30 years and was a true precursor of reform.
In full Cathedral, he denounced the warrior spirit and the wanton life of bishops, their luxury and their pomp, their abuse of excommunication: he rose against the lack of discipline of the monasteries where monks and nuns were any more dressing and outgoing at their leisure, sleeping where seemed them and not following even more offices.
The vehemence with which it rises against the bad example set by clerics recalls Luther, but the orthodoxy of his Theology ranks among the Catholic reformers.
Other preachers succeeded him, who went further than him and accepted ideas news, and for years, proponents of the new cult and those old dogmas fought over the Cathedral. At one time Catholics were repressed in the choir, while the nave belonged to protestants, who remained same at a given time the masters of the place. And this victory is translated by the removal of statues of the Virgin and the destruction of all epitaphs that covered the pavement. Charles v gave the Cathedral to Catholics, with freedom for protestants continue to preach on Sundays and feast days, but, the preacher refused to preach in surplice, Catholics remained the masters for 10 years. Or the population headed the magistrate, i.e. the Assembly composed of Tri and the Senate, who ruled the Republic Strasbourg, were for the new cult, and, as a result of a riot, a battle with blows of stones, balls of snow and chairs against the barricaded clergy in the chorus she recovered possession of the Cathedral, which remained Protestant for nearly a century and a quarter, until the capture of the city by Louis XIV. Throughout this period the Cathedral lived troubled and turbulent life of the city and the Republic, and the religious struggles that brought conflict Strasbourg, like almost all cities of Alsace, and the Emperor, were at the origin of the harassment imposed on the people, who, feeling their freedoms threatened, turned to the France. Already, in 1546. Strasbourg, Charles v wanted to force them to withdraw from the stacked Schmalkaldic, calls to François Ier., without result elsewhere. Strasbourg is defeated, but submits that in appearance; the fight continues; the city wants the Cathedral to be Protestant, and the Emperor, becoming more violent and authoritarian, is to be Catholic. For twelve years the war of bishops - Catholics and protestants - engulfed the entire Alsace, then broke out the thirty years war, which was for the Alsace a period of ruin and misfortune. She called to his aid the Protestant Swedes who ravaged the country more than the imperial troops. It was then that the Alsace turned to the France and asked him his protection. In 1648 the Treaty of Westphalia gave almost all Alsace to the France. The Republic of Strasbourg remained independent, but, 30 years later, it was conquered in turn.
The reign of Louis XIV visited the Cathedral to the Catholic worship; It brought him also a range of embellishments to the taste of the day: destruction of the old Gothic rood screen, installation in the choir stalls, woodwork and plasterwork, rich altar topped by a heavy canopy, which made the old less austere Cathedral, more to the taste of the time and cleaner, seemed, to the lavish parties that were held to Marie Leczinska marriagetriumph of Louis XV after his illness in Metz, passage of Marie-Antoinette.
But it made to the Cathedral other changes, most important yet: we enlarged the choir by adding the first Bay of the nave raised for this purpose, was built of huge fora between the columns of this span, it destroyed old stairs that led to the crypt to rebuild in addition of new. Finally, it is from this time dates the large octagonal sacristy and external arcades we talked.
The Revolution reserved at the Cathedral of the days still more stormy than reform, and severe mutilation; as in the past she shared all the emotions of the city, it was the challenge of most of his struggles and all its festivals theatre. It was announced the convocation of the States-General, sang the Marseillaise that came a few weeks earlier sounding for the first time at the Dietrich Mayor, is celebrated there with great pomp the feasts of reason, of being supreme, the sovereignty of the people, the recognition and many others. It is on its arrow them first tricolor flags it had seen in Strasbourg and is on his tour were installed the optical Telegraph.
It was in 1793 had er the first destruction. The Municipality sought well resist came from the top orders to destroy "all the statues of stone which are around the temple of reason", but Mayor Monel, a Savoyard who did not like the love of the old cathedral, is stubborn, and did require to participate the work of destruction, all "citizens in condition to use a hammer. Fortunately, public works administrator hastened to unseal and put in place course 67 statues; but he was unable to save all and hammers made their work. These workers improvised the rest showed no great zeal and ventured not high up in the building, and after two days was declared finished work.
We will see just now that what has the most suffered are the eardrums and the arching portals of the façade, which had to be rebuilt in large part, and the large statues of apostles of the north transept, which no longer exist.
The following year, the Cathedral ran a greater risk yet: it almost shoot his arrow, but the municipality managed to save her.
Finally, in 1801, the Cathedral was finally returned to Catholic worship.
In the 19th century it made him undergo a series of restorations we see along the way and which the most important was the reclamation parties transformed under Louis XIV. In 1870 the bombing caused at the Cathedral of serious damage. She received a large number of shells, a fire destroyed its roof, fortunately resisted the vaults and flying buttresses were not met, what makes that evil was repairable.
During the years of the great war it was questioned often with anguish in what condition the would be the day where it would be made. But this time the battle it was spared, we find intact, and it seems much more beautiful yet, now she is once again French.
- Title: Strasbourg Cathedral; Department of Public Instruction and fine arts. Educational Museum.
- Author: Herr, Jeanne-Lucien
- Publisher: Print. administrative (Melun)
- Date of publication: 1919
Crédit photo : gerardgg (Notre Dame Cathedral, strasbourg)
Notre Dame Cathedral, At a time where the french flag again at the top of the arrow of Strasbourg, where the old cathedral speaks in the eyes and hearts of all as a symbol of the present provinces, it seems natural to seek to know his story and familiarize yourself with its beauties. We will see it just now as a whole and in its details, but before coming to the views, we will recall quickly what we know different phases of its construction, its architects, events which she was theatre. strasbourg, bas rhin
Men involved in this construction
- Parler n. (in French) maître de l'oeuvre
- Ensingen u. (in French) maître de l'oeuvre
- Jultz j. (in French) maître de l'oeuvre
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