One of the greatest masterpieces of Christendom is the three rosettes of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
The rose Sud or Rose du MIDI was offered by King Saint Louis. The masters of works having conceived it are Jean de Chelles, then Pierre de Montreuil. The first masterpiece of the Cathedral, Jean de Chelles, posed the first stone of the façade of the south transept in 1258. The South rose, a veritable central piece on the façade of the transept, was built in 1260, echoing the Rose du Nord, which was built around 1250. As its northern pendant, the South rose, sees its diameter reach 12.90 meters, and, if one adds the clear-way on which it rests, the total height of glazing is almost 19 meters.
This rose is dedicated to the New Testament.
It includes Eighty four panels divided into four circles. The first consists of twelve medallions, the second twenty-four. A third circle is made up of twelve quadrilobes, while the fourth circle is punctuated by twenty-four trilobed medallions. Thus we find the symbolic number four, as well as its multiples, twelve and twenty-four.
This rose has suffered many damage over the centuries. Supported since 1543 in the aftermath of settlements in masonry, it was restored between 1725 and 1727 by Guillaume Brice under the direction of Boffrand. However, poorly executed works, as well as the fire of the Archdiocese during the revolution of 1830 which severely altered the rosette, resulted in the need for a new reconstruction. It was then undertaken in 1861 by Viollet-le-Duc. In front of the pronounced collapse of the masonry, he fully resumed the façade of the South brace and rotated the 15 ° rosette to give it a vertical axis and a horizontal axis, thus consolidating this stone lace. The master glassmaker Alfred Gérente restored the stained glass windows of the 13Th century and restored the missing medallions in the spirit of the authenticity of the ensemble.
But the successive interventions on the rosette have totally upset the panels. Even today, we cannot find the original design intended by the designer. As well the twelve apostles, originally constituting the first circle, are now scattered in both circles, mixing with other characters. It is also recognized in all circles of Saints and martyrs traditionally honoured in France, as well as the wise virgins : Laurent, Deacon with the grill of his martyrdom; Denis, first bishop of Paris carrying his head; Pothin, Bishop of Lyon; Daisy and a dragon; Blandine and two lions; Georges Ambroise Eustache...
We can spot about twentyAngels (in the fourth circle) carrying a candle, two crowns or a censer, New and old testament scenes (in the third and fourth circles): the escape to Egypt, the healing of a paralytic, the judgment of Solomon, the Annunciation...
It is found in the third circle (one in the fourth), a suite of nine scenes of the life of St. Matthew, a valuable and well-preserved invoice. Their origin is unknown, but the experts agree to date them from the last quarter of the 12Th century.
At the ends, the two ecoinons present:
– the descent to the underworld to the East, surrounded by Moses and Aaron (above) and the temptation of Adam and Eve (downstairs);
– the resurrection of Christ to the West with St. Peter and St. Paul (bottom), St. Magdalene and St. John (top).
The central medallion probably originally contained a God in Majesty. In 1726, having disappeared, as a consequence of the State of Dilapidations for almost two centuries of the rose, it was decided to replace it with the coat of arms of Cardinal de Noailles, Archbishop of Paris of the time, who had spent 80,000 pounds for the restoration of the rose. Viollet-le-Duc, through the work of Gérente, chooses to place the representation of Christ of the Apocalypse : the sword coming out of the Savior's mouth is the symbol that his word separates the error from the truth. Stars shine on the wounds of his hands, while the lamps of the temple are lit around him.
Under the rosette, the celestial Court is perfect for the sixteen prophets represented in the large stained glass windows of the Claire-voie, painted in the nineteenth century by Alfred Gérente under the direction of Viollet-le-Duc. In accordance with the Cathedral of Chartres, of which the latter was inspired, in the Center, the four great prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel) bear on their shoulders the four evangelists (Matthew, mark, Luke and John). It is the very meditation of Bertrand, Bishop of Chartres in the 13Th century, on the link between the old and the new testament : We are like dwarves mounted on the shoulders of giants, so we perceive much more than them, not that our vision is more piercing or our size higher, but because we are transported and raised higher thanks to their size Gigantic.
The Rose du MIDI symbolizes the triumphant Christ sitting in heaven, surrounded by all those who have been his witnesses on the Earth.