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The Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Beauvais, Beauvais, France

March 8th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Beauvais is a cathedral, located in Beauvais, in northern France. It is the cathedral of the Bishop of Beauvais-Noyons-Senlis.

It is, in some respects the most daring achievement of Gothic architecture, and consists only of a transept and choir with apse and seven apse-chapels. The vaulting in the interior of the choir reaches 157.5 ft in height, far surpassing the concurrently constructed Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Amiens (138ft-nave).

The small Romanesque church of the 10th century known as the Basse Œuvre occupies the site destined for the nave. Begun in 1247, under Bishop Guillaume de Grez, an extra 16 feet were added to the height, to make it the tallest cathedral in Europe: the work was interrupted in 1284 by the collapse of some of the vaulting of the choir.

This collapse is often seen as a disaster that produced a failure of nerve among the French masons working in Gothic style. In 1573 the fall of a too-ambitious central tower stopped work again, after which little addition was made.

The transept was built from 1500 to 1548. However, large-scale Gothic design continued, and the choir was rebuilt at the same height, albeit with more columns in the chevet.

Its façades, especially that on the south, exhibit all the richness of the late Gothic style. The carved wooden doors of both the north and the south portals are masterpieces respectively of Gothic and Renaissance workmanship. The church possesses an elaborate astronomical clock (1866) and tapestries of the 15th and 17th centuries; but its chief artistic treasures are stained glass windows of the 13th, 14th and 16th centuries, the most beautiful of them from the hand of the Renaissance artist, Engrand Le Prince, a native of Beauvais. To him also is due some of the stained glass in St-Etienne, the second church of the town, and an interesting example of the transition stage between the Romanesque and Gothic styles.

During the Middle Ages, on January 14, the Feast of Asses was celebrated in the Beauvais Cathedral, in commemoration of the Flight into Egypt.

Wilson Hall at Fermilab was constructed to resemble the design of the cathedral.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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