The western façade

This façade was begun under the episcopate of Eudes of Sully from 1200 by the third architect and continued under his successors, including William of Auvergne, after 1220 by the Fourth. The North Tower was completed in 1240 and the South in 1250.

It presents itself as a mass imposing, simple and harmonious with the force and sober grandeur based on one set of vertical and horizontal lines :
-four powerful buttresses that flow to the top of the towers and raise them to the sky. They tell us symbolically that the Church-Cathedral built for God.
-two wide horizontal bands that seem to pack the building to our carnal land. This Cathedral Church is also a Cathedral for men.
Its dimensions are impressive:
-41 m in width
-43 m in height to the base of the towers
-63 m at the top of the towers

By its simplicity and harmony, this façade was fascinated by modern historians of art and contemporary architects. Marcel Aubert will write that this is one of the most perfect medieval is high, a masterpiece of composition and execution, as to Le CorbusierHe'll talk to a pure creation of the mind. For him, the key surface is set by the square and the circle where its geometric purity.

The symbolic reading can help us to understand the meaning:
-the square is the symbol of the space createdlimited.
-the circle is the symbol of the limitlessis without beginning or end, image of God perfect.
The world of God burst in the created world: God became man. It's the Mystery of the Incarnation. The head of the Virgin and Jesus fit exactly in the center of the Western rose. The "Yes" of Mary helped the irruption of God in Jesus in the world. And Mary is the son to the city.

At the centre of the façade, at the level of the so-called Gallery of the Virgin, a big rose9.60 m diameter and executed around 1225, occupies the centre of the façade constituting as a Halo to a statue of the Madonna and child between two Angels. Right and left, the statues Adam and Eve remind of the original fault. These statues have been redone by Viollet-le-Duc in the nineteenth century.

Under the railing, extends the wide horizontal band of the Gallery of Kings. It aligns twenty-eight statues representing twenty-eight generations of Kings of Judahdescendants of Jesse and human ancestors of Mary and Jesus. This set stresses that Marie, real woman, born of the human race, generates Jesus, true man and true God.
Introduced in the first third of the 13th century, these painted statues will quickly appear as representations of the Kings of France that simple people used to recognize. From 1284, it is how they are presented. And this tradition will continue for centuries. That is why, when the turmoil of the Revolution, they will suffer significant mutilation as a symbol of royal despotism and will be slaughtered...
-When the architects Lassus and Viollet-Le-Duc are the site of our Lady 1843, it remains none of these statues. Viollet-Le-Duc decides, with the help of the workshop of Geoffrey-Dechaumeto restore the statues we see today.
-In 1977, through work in the Parisian district of the roadway of Antin, 143 fragments Royal statues of our Lady were rediscovered. They are currently exposed to the Cluny museum.

The lower floor, under the Gallery of Kingscan be seen three major portals who are not quite identical. The central portalcalled gate of judgment, is higher and wider than the other two, the Portal Sainte-Anne (on the right or South) and the Portal of the Virgin (on the left or North). It is topped by a triangular gable. These portals are ornamented to a swarm of characters and surrounded in the splayings of big statues again in the nineteenth century by Viollet-le-Duc.

On the foothills, niches are home Four statues again by the workshop of Viollet-le-Duc. It is on the left (North) foothills of the deacon Saint Etienne, on the right (South) buttress of a Bishop, very likely Saint Denis, and share and other central portal of two allegories, the Synagogue on the right and theChurch on the left.

This façade, springing directly from the ground, appears as a masterpiece of balance and harmony.

This façade was begun under the episcopate of Eudes of Sully from 1200 by the third architect and continued under his successors, including William of Auvergne, after 1220 by the Fourth. The North Tower was completed in 1240 and the South in 1250.

 

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