Chartres is amazing. 4,000 to 6,000 individual sculptures. 120 major stainedglass windows and many smaller ones. And the view? Pay the minor fee imposed by the French government and climb up the long corkscrew steps...and look over the whole valley for 20 or 30 miles on a clear day. Just amazing.
But gee, people in the Middle Ages were all stupid, right? Man's greatest architecture was built centuries ago.
Thank you both for bringing this Cathedral to life with your pictures and posts! It is truly magnificent.
But gee, people in the Middle Ages were all stupid, right?
Back then, Bibles were few in number. The common people were 'educated' by the Church through its architecture. The stained glass windows and sculptures each told the story of Christ and the Salvation He brought to mankind.
I work in the NYS Capitol which was constructed more than 100 years ago. One of its most magnificent details is the "Million Dollar" staircase.
To complete this complex staircase, 600 stone carvers were employed to carve the structure by hand. There are approximately 77 famous faces carved into the pillars. Among those are: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, Generals Grant, Sherman and Sheridan, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Christopher Columbus, Walt Whitman, Susan B. Anthony and Clara Barton. Once all the famous faces were carved, the stone carvers were then allowed to carve faces of anyone they chose, including friends, family members and people off the street. These less famous faces are known as the "Capitol Unknowns." Along with faces, many animals, birds and fruits were carved into the banisters of the staircase.
The Great Western Staircase, also known as the "Million Dollar Staircase," was designed by architect Isaac Perry and took 13 years to complete.This staircase, made of Corsehill freestone from Scotland, is 119 feet high with a 3000 square foot skylight at the top. During World War II the skylight was covered to protect the building from possible air raids. After 60 years of darkness, the skylight was uncovered in August of 2002, once again revealing the full beauty of this great staircase. The pictures here show the domed glass laylight above the staircase. This laylight is then covered by an angled skylight on the Capitol roof.
These photos do not do it justice. The handrails, columns, and finials are filled with beautiful carvings of the famous, along with eagles, state flowers, and cherished family members (not identified). I was there for the restoration of the staircase and its unveiling. There are many cherubs carved into the staircase and one of them is the face of the grandmother of someone invited to be present for this unveiling.
Shortly after it was constructed, a fire broke out in the 3rd floor library. Soot and ash were imbeded into the soft sandstone of the staircase. Over the years, various cleaning agents were tested until finally, last year, the entire staircase was finally restored to its original magnificance. It stands in tribute to all those men, many of whom were immigrants, who carved it. Should you ever plan a visit to Albany NY, please let me know and I will give you a personal tour of the NYS Capitol. It is the oldest in the US AND, the only one without a dome. (The footing was built but could not support the dome).