Sainte Chapelle "Tour" Style

Today, I am traveling with a group of tourists to Sainte Chapelle Cathedral in France. Sainte Chapelle (holy chapel) is one of the only surviving buildings of the Capetian royal palace in the heart of Paris, France. It was commissioned by King Louis IX to house his collection of relics, including the Crown of Thorns which is one of the most important relics in medieval Christendom. See here that some time after 1239 and consecrated on the 26th of April 1248, the Sainte-Chapelle is considered among the highest achievements of the Rayonnant period of Gothic Architecture. Although damaged during the French revolution and heavily restored in the 19th century, it retains one of the most extensive collections of 13th century stained glass anywhere in the world.

So you see, the royal chapel is a prime example of the phase of Gothic architectural style called "Rayonnant", marked by its sense of weightlessness and strong vertical emphasis. It stands squarely upon a lower chapel, which served as parish church for all the inhabitants of the palace, which was the seat of government. The king was later recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church. The most famous features of the chapel over here, among the finest of their type in the world, are the great stained glass windows, for whose benefit the stone wall surface is reduced to little more than a delicate framework. These are fifteen huge mid-13th century windows that fill the nave and apse, while a large rose window with flamboyant tracery (added to the upper chapel in late 1400s) dominates the western wall.

Even though you can see some some damage the windows display a clear iconographical story. The three windows of the eastern apse over there illustrate the New Testament, featuring scenes of The Passion, which is the center window, with the Infancy of Christ, to the left, and the Life of John the Evangelist, to the right. By contrast, the windows of the nave are dominated by Old Testament exemplars of ideal...