Notre Dame Cathedral North Rose Window
Chelles, Jean de, d. ca. 1270
That glass could pierce a wall supporting tons of stone is a quintessentially Gothic architectural feat accomplished by traversing apertures with visually delicate but structurally strong webs of stone that break the glass into smaller shapes in a symmetrical way, distributing weight equally across the perforated wall, creating the impression of a curtain of light.Notre Dame's north transept wall, consisting of a rose window surmounting 18 lancet windows, was built ca. 1250-1260 while Jean de Chelles was architect.Most of the original 13th C. glasswork is still intact, filtering light into a rainbow of blues, reds, greens, browns and yellows. The wide of spectrum of colors achieved in Medieval France's stained glass windows was produced by varying both the proportion of metal added to molten glass and the temperature to which the mixture was heated. Impurities in the metals, bubbles in the cooled glass and variations in the thickness of the cut panes would ultimately contribute to the jewel-like quality of finished windows. Colored glass was cut to size by heating or with a diamond. Details (facial features, drapery, foliage, etc.) were painted on with a mix of cullet (scrap glass), copper and Greek sapphire dissolved in wine or urine. This 'glass painting' was baked again, stimulating further chemical reactions that yielded visually interesting results.In the center oculus of the north rose window is the image of Mary enthroned holding the Christ Child. Surrounding them are images of kings and prophets of the Old Testament.
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Notre Dame Cathedral West Rose Window, Detail Viollet-le-Duc, Eugène-Emmanuel, 1814-1879; Lassus, Jean Baptiste Antoine, 1807-1857 Didron, Adolphe Napoléon, 1806-1867; Gérente, Alfred; Husson, Antoine; Marechal, Charles Laurent, 1801-1887; Steinhel, Louis; DigitalGeorgetown (1981)