Cathedral for art and history

Portal of Saint Anne

The Portal of Saint Anne is the portal on the west façade on the right. It was installed around 1200 before the other two portals of the façade. Its tympanum* reuses another tympanum made fifty years earlier for another cathedral (the former Saint Stephen’s cathedral).

In its centre, there is a magnificent Virgin with Child in the Romanesque style, with all of the elegant and serene characteristics of majestic Virgins. She is seated under a canopy and on a throne, bearing a crown and a sceptre and holding her Son, who holds the Book of the Law, on her lap. She is watching us and showing us the Child, who is blessing us, as they both encourage us to enter the cathedral to reflect and to pray. Mary seems to be saying: “Enter into this church which is under my patronage. Go there to adore my Son, who came to this world to save humanity.”

There is an angel on each side of the throne, and on the left, there is the bishop of Paris and perhaps his treasurer. On the right, there is a king of France. The bishop could be Saint Germain and the king could be Childebert, but these individuals could not be precisely identified.

Above the tympanum, in the concentric archivolts, we see the heavenly court (Angels, Kings, Prophets and Elders of the Apocalypse) singing the glory of God, a wonderful example of harmony and sculptural sophistication.

JPG - 90.5 kb
© Gérard Boullay

The two lintels above the tympanum feature two nice friezes that tell the story of the marriage of Joachim and Anne and the marriage of Mary and Joseph (lower lintel), while the upper lintel shows scenes from Christ’s arrival on earth, from the Annunciation to the Epiphany.

Below the lintels, on each side of the two wooden doors with wonderful 13th-century wrought iron work, there are nine full-size statues restored in the 19th century by Viollet-le-Duc’s workshop after the statues were destroyed by the revolution in 1793. These statues feature:
- on the left, a king, the Queen of Sheba, King Solomon and Saint Peter
- on the trumeau, Saint Marcel, a 5th century Parisian bishop who vanquished a dragon symbolising the scourges his diocese was cursed with.
- on the right, Saint Paul, King David, Bathsheba and another king

 

Le Portail Sainte-Anne
Cliquez sur la photo ci-dessus pour naviguer dans l’image panoramique. © Andrew TALLON
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