:type travel tuesday: {reims cathedral, marc chagall stained glass}

Deo optimo maximo, often abbreviated D.O.M.
"To God, most good, most great."

Cathedral Notre-Dame de Reims,
Reims, France

Notre-Dame of Reims was the site of the coronation of French kings. It was the centre of an important "cathedral complex" and the representation of Heavenly Jerusalem for the people of the Middle Ages. It was also the symbolic centre of the Archbishop's power, as Primate over the bishops of several dioceses in Northern France. Erected between 1211 and 1516, in accordance with an architectural program of immense artistic richness, the Cathedral of Reims survives as one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic art.

Marc Chagall designed the beautiful stained glass windows in the axis of the apse, installed in 1974.

Chagall began by immersing himself in the atmosphere of the edifice and its medieval windows, from which he asked Charles Marq to reproduce the colours. He then commenced work by gluing pieces of cloth on preliminary models, followed by working with gouache on larger and larger models. The ensemble of these works, six lancet and three small rose windows, is ten metres high and covers an area of about 75m².

The central window evokes the history of Abraham and the last moments of the Earthly life of Christ (the Passion and the Resurrection), that is, the foundations of the Old and New Testaments: the sacrifice of Abraham heralding that of Christ. The rose window represents The Holy Spirit.

The window on the left expresses the prophesy of the Old Testament. It depicts the Tree of Jesse, linked to the genealogy of the Virgin, under whose patronage the Cathedral is placed. From the side of Jesse springs the branch giving birth to the kings of Judah, of which Chagall portrayed only Saul, David and Salomon.

The rose window represents a certain number of prophets announcing the coming of the Messiah. In this realisation, Marc Chagall succeeds in combining the modernity of drawing and of composition, with the hues of medieval stained glass, from which he borrowed the ancient blues in order to preserve the overall harmony of colours.

(from the Cathedral's website)

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