Beauvais Cathedral

Beauvais Cathedral
Beauvais Cathedral

The Beauvais Cathedral built under the patronage of Saint Peter, is one of the most extreme examples of Gothic architecture and although today, the construction has been overshadowed by other more prominent cathedrals on the outskirts such as the of Amians, the ambition with which Beauvais was pushed to unsuspected limits.


In this context we must highlight how Gothic cathedrals represented the spirit of an increasingly urbanized society, if the Romanesque had been the representative art of the Middle Ages for some time, From the 12th century onwards, the cities opted to build huge Gothic-style cathedrals so that the Romanesque style would be relegated to the countryside. The Gothic cathedral with its light and height represented divine spirituality but also something much more earthly, the cities began a real constructive race to try to get the most beautiful and above all the highest cathedral as a symbol of their power.

In this way we can understand the desire of Beauvais to build the tallest cathedral in the North of France. The city had become an important economic focus throughout the twelfth century and in the following century the Bishop of Beauvais decided to build what was intended to be the largest and tallest cathedral in Europe. After this decision it has been possible to observe a certain political plot and it is that at this time Franceit was divided into two factions: one that supported the monarch Louis VIII and another faction led by some of the most powerful nobles in France who had the support of a good part of the Church; It seems that Milo de Nantueil intended to show his power to the monarch with this building.

The cathedral was built on the remains of an old church from the Carolingian era, some traces of which are still preserved. Originally, the project proposed a building with a Latin cross floor plan, five naves, a transept marked on the floor plan and a highly developed apse that housed both radial chapels and the choir inside. The plans were never completed and only the choir and the apse were built from the imposing cathedral, which today joins the remains of a Romanesque period construction, completing the complex as if it were a unified whole.

Despite its unfinished state the work is spectacular and the height of the choir exceeds any European cathedral, with its forty-eight meters high this could have been one of the main construction problems in Beauvais, the fact that the cathedral is unfinished is due to the fact that this area collapsed repeatedly probably due to an unstable support system that must have supported too much weight. The diaphanous facing followed the parameters of the radiant Gothic style, that is, the emptying of the wall in substitution for large stained-glass windows, which also did not help to support the heavy weight of the roof and finally it had to be

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