Sunday, July 18, 2010

Beauvais Cathedral Re-visited . . .

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This post is dedicated to anyone who has visited Beauvais Cathedral, and to anyone who has not visited Beauvais Cathedral, or to those who might have done neither . . . Don't hesitate to go prepare a bowl of Japanese tea before perusing these photographs at your leisure.
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Back in a post on the 11th of June I recounted how I'd gone back to visit Beauvais Cathedral again for the second time in two weeks, to take another look, a solitary look, taking time to gaze more closely at certain details. That was just after the post on June 9th which displayed a few photos taken several days previously in and around the cathedral. I noticed while assembling the photos for this short pictorial essay, that all the images were in portrait layout, as opposed to landscape, for the simple reason that Beauvais Cathedral is all about heights which reach up enthusiastically toward the sky. Landscape format just couldn't do any justice to such a structure; the highest of its kind in Europe.
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The exterior transept and choir, from a bit of a distance . . .
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The south transept's gorgeous gothic facade . . .
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Beauvais Cathedral, started in the 1100's, was never completed. There is a rather severe slate-covered wall where the nave should have joined the transepts.
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At the base of the north transept . . .
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The north entrance doors, details of which were shown in the previous post about Beauvais on 9 June . . .
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The astronomical clock in the cathedral is one of the wonders of clock-making engineering in the world, with 90000 parts . . .
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Structural supports were added about 15 years ago to prevent another collapse.
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The pillars just go up and up and up . . .
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To take this next one I lay down on my back on the floor . . .
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The First World War is remembered here. There is a plaque identical to this one in the Senlis Cathedral.
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An ancient fresco . . .
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There is currently work in progress to protect and preserve the cathedral. The stairs in the scaffolding here made me think of Stairway to Heaven . . .
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27 comments:

Snowbrush said...

WOW! That's beautiful. Thank you so much.

James said...

I'll second that WOW! That clock is amazing and I love those pillar shots! The ancient fresco is awesome too.

Mary Ann said...

Resolved: I will be bolder, I will lie on the floor if that is what it takes to get the shot I want.

That was an angle worth getting, but I still admire your ability to embrace the unconventional.

The cathedral is overwhelming in its detail.

lgsquirrel said...

All the photos are great but I found the astronomical clock to be truly awe-inspiring. I could probably watch it for days, maybe even months.

The Pliers said...

I do believe that I visited Beauvais back in the early '90s with the stone man. It looks like the biggest cake decoration on earth, doesn't it? "Glory to God..." does take architecture to new heights!

Your photos do it justice and I too particularly appreciate the shot from the prone position! Great work, Owen! I'm sure that you have inspired others to make the trek to Beauvais now for themselves.

Have you read "The Pillars of the Earth" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pillars_of_the_Earth) and "World Without End" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Without_End_%28novel%29)? They are both now finally out in pocket(!)-sized paperback if, that is, you have pockets the size of mailbags!!! They are by Ken Follet and follow the lives of carvers of cathedrals, among other things! You might enjoy them, with your interest in things made of stone!

T. Becque said...

Oh my gosh, this is incredible! Your pictures and information are great. I'm amazed by the detail, age, history, etc. The clock! I agree about the severe slate wall, not so good. Great post!

Eternally Distracted said...

It looks absolutely stunning - Well worth a visit.

Steve said...

Now that's what I call an elegant pile...

Deborah said...

It's enough to make you fall on your knees.

Seems to me it's rather unusual to have a clock in a cathedral - never mind one of this sophistication. Wonderful photographs, Owen!

TechnoBabe said...

You did such great work capturing the enormity of this historical place. It is so tall. Yes, we have tall buildings in the US but they are so modern compared to places like this cathedral in France. You make it even more interesting by sharing your comments between the pictures. I cannot tell you how much I am happy to have stumbled on your blog a year or so ago.

Dedene said...

The cathedrale is breathtaking. The clock is really something!

the fly in the web said...

Thank you, Owen. Your photographs brought back all the wonder i felt when i visited Beauvais.
But why don't I remember the clock? I must have been so enthralled by the airiness of the structure that the clock - wonder that it is - just got itself filed away somewhere in the memory.

Stickup Artist said...

I can certainly see why you are so taken with this architectural marvel. I even see some gargoyles protruding from it's exterior! It's hard to believe it is carved from stone. I adore the shots with the upward perspective. They really add drama and scale to the viewing experience.

Laying on the floor! The other visitors must have mistaken you for a reverse supplicant!

The astronomical clock is wondrous in it's warm golden glow, as is the fresco with the startling blue background, and the purple glow on the marble floor from the stained glass window with the little glowing alter at its base glowing from the shadowy recesses is just beautiful. Fabulous details to highlight!

I was at the movies yesterday and saw previews for "Pillars of the Earth." It will be interesting to see what, if any, real cathedral towns they include in the film.

I'm so happy to see they are diligent about keeping the place up!

Clytie said...

Ohmigosh, what an amazing place - what an amazing post. And that CLOCK! I am mesmerized, and am now going to go back through the pictures to see what I missed on the first look!

...louciao... said...

So much easier on the feet, the neck, and the wallet to go cathedral gazing with you, Owen. I'll just drop the tip in your camera bag as you're laying there on the floor, shall I?

jeff said...

Je trouve tout ça un "peu" chargé à mon goût !
La maison des fidèles ne devrait être pas un lieu fait de simplicité ?...
Bon ! Et cet apéro ?...
Où en es-tu ?...

Amitiés du Sud !

Buskitten said...

Owen!!!! xxxxxx
Beautiful, beautiful photographs

mythopolis said...

Wonderful glimpses of a magnificent structure. Its kinda overwhelming to imagine its construction. It is interesting how, over time, we moved from crude ziggurats, minarets, and temples built around them, to skyscrapers named after men of note, or the things they did. And now, while church spires once stood higher than all else, it is a landscape of cell towers, and amphitheaters, arenas, ball parks and other large venues. that seem to carry corporate logos. Trying to limit my comment, not to get into the things orbiting overhead. And now, BP kneels humbly before Zeus, and begs to stay in the game.

The Sagittarian said...

Fabulous! I think you're indulging in risky behaviour lying on the floor in a place where they probably do funerals as well tho'....

alwaysinthebackrow said...

The pictures are wonderful. I too thought of the book "Pillars of the Earth" to have an idea of what went into building these cathedrals. The clock is fascinating. It seems a bit odd that the church would include something rather modern and technologicaly advanced for its time.
Thank you for a great visit to a beautiful place.

Owen said...

Dearest Friends and Readers,

I'm already caught in the swirling whirlpool (toilet bowl analogy ?) of the start of another week at work, and with a friend here visiting from the US this past weekend, and la Grenouille and two Grenouillettes back home between two bits of vacation, I've had precious little time for blogging, and now I'm running off to the straightjacket factory again.... such is life.

But I've loved reading your notes here. Every time it is the greatest pleasure imaginable to know that people are actually looking at these bits of tinkering at texts and photos, and a few of you enjoy them enough, and are kind & savvy enough about blogs to actually leave a comment. Can't tell you how much your words mean to me.

Yes, Mary Ann & Saj, sometimes one must be ready to lie on one's back to get a better view. Although the man in charge of the entry did walk over to see what I was doing, maybe he thought I was planting explosives or something, and a group of penguin costumed nuns walked by and I could see some of them were blushing and tittering at the sight of a man prostrated there on his back by the altar...

To a couple of you who mentionned The Pillars of the Earth, yes indeed, I have read the book, and didn't know a film of it was in the works, I'll be curious to see what they did with the film. A huge subject, this building of cathedrals. Incredible that back in the 1200's already they could accomplish such feats.

So, I've really got to run now, hugs to all...
:-)

PS Of course Lynne, tips are welcome, hundred dollar bills will do quite nicely...
:-)

PPS Liz, so nice to see you back ! Missed you and Tiddles !

PPPS Myth, if the cap is still holding, is the leak almost over then ? Other than the decades of impact on the Gulf and coasts around it... the horror, the horror...

PPPPS Jeff, l'apero est gratuit ce soir...

Oh yes, the Clock... Stickup, Clytie, and Fly, the clock is indeed a marvel, it was assembled in the 1800's, there are one or two others similar, but not many. I think in Besançon there is one.

Gotta run !

the watercats said...

My how I've missed blogland.. now I'm back I realise this. The last few posts have been gorgeous! I think I remember seeing this cathedral in an old school book many years ago, and the writing on the wall post is just so fantastic! words of the prophets and all that jazz :-)
and well, camels , child eating zebras and goats,, where could you go wrong! Not so sure about that magnificent tiger being hoiked round for the public's benefit though... brilliant stuff as usual toadman! :-D

Nevine said...

Owen, your photos are just grand. Grand in the true sense of the word. And the cathedral is grand, of course. There is something about cathedrals that beckons me... I am not a religious person... perhaps that is why I am fascinated by them... something surreal... sublime... as if time is suspended... the arms on the clock broken... and everything hangs... awaiting what? The response of the divine... I've never been inside this cathedral before... but your photos have made it as if I have.

I am profoundly sorry I am late coming here, Owen. We are painting some rooms in our house (accenting some of our walls) and it is quite a task... moving furniture... mixing paints... covering the floor... removing curtains and drapes. Apologies again! Please forgive. And thank you for this fabulous break from the hectic bustle of it all! I feel relaxed, now... and ready to go start up with my duties once more.

Nevine

Owen said...

Dearest Cats,
Too kind by far. Just watch out for zebras in the pubs where you play, and don't wear green... which could be hard in Ireland I guess...
:-)

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Hi Nevine,
You mustn't apologize, you know I am thrilled whenever you can drop in, and cannot possibly expect that everyone can check up on blogs all day long every day... my goodness, we all have our lives to lead, and blogging is a luxury, a luxury after the essentials are taken care of... albeit, a very pleasurable luxury, where some great exchanges are taking place.

But whenever you can make it, is fine by me, even if only once every six months...

I hope all your hard work on the home has created spaces in which you find harmony and conditions propitious to writing and dreaming... dreaming about future voyages to visit grand cathedrals, for example...

take care Nevine, always a pleasure whenever...

ρομπερτ said...

If ever time asked for a place to find ground to stand firm, this surely would be a perfect choice.
What an oasis it must be, far from the nowaday noise. Thank you for this escape. A great Thursday for you.

Louis la Vache said...

Magnificent. «Louis» really appreciates the gothic cathedrals. It is not pleasing to contemplate that we've moved from the glory of structures such as Beauvais to the abomination of Le Corbusier's Chapel at Ronchamp, a textbook example of what happens when an atheist Marxist is asked to design a worship space. In his "urban renewal" plan for Paris, Le Corbusier wanted to tear down Nôtre-Dame!

Rhiannon said...

Oh my my whar beautiful photos..your like me..anything (like laying down on the ground or floor) to get just the "right photo" ...thats what it's all about..trying to find that perfect angle that makes these photos so perfect..

I just sigh upon looking at these..as my hopes and dreams are of going to Europe before I die and witnessing this great ancient historical beauty at least once in my life..

Just beautiful works of art in your photos Own...wonderful work!


Rhi