The Church of Saint-Maclou is considered one of the best examples of the Flamboyant style of Gothic architecture in France. Saint-Maclou, along with Rouen Cathedral, the Palais de Justice (also Flamboyant), and the Church of St. Ouen, form a famous ensemble of significant Gothic buildings in Rouen.
The Construction on Saint-Maclou began sometime after 1432; it was to replace an existing parish church that had suffered from several years of neglect resulting in a collapsed transept roof. In its place, master mason Pierre Robin created a basilica style church with four radiating chapels around an octagonal choir. The decoration of the church is macabre, beckoning back to the church's grim past rooted in the black death pandemic. The transept is non-projecting complete with piers that support the above lantern tower. The choir is rather large in size for the structure and has two bays and four radiating chapels that branch off of the ambulatory. Overall, the plan places its emphasis on the transept which is midway between the choir and the nave. Saint-Maclou has the classic three-story elevation of an arcade, triforium, and clerestory. The famous western facade is towerless with five gabled porch with flying buttresses above the aisles that are attached to the western wall featuring a rose window.
The Church of Saint Maclou was built during the transition from the Romanesque to the Gothic period. Contrary the romanesque semi-circular arches, the Gothic period introduced pointed arches. Gothic architecture mastered the art of creating a large arch without it collapsing - pointed arches. The elongated, Gothic look can be seen in this photo. Other architectural innovations of the Gothic period include: compound piers, tympanums, radiating chapels, jambs, buttresses, and flying buttresses. Contrary to traditional Roman capitals, compound piers were not perfectly cylindricalt; instead, it looks as if multiple Ionic capitals were stuck onto one central capital. The space above the cathedral door within the arch is referred to as the tympanum. Typically, the tympanum is filled with sculpture of a scene alluding to Heaven and Hell. The tympanum of the main entrance of the Church of Saint Maclou displays Christ standing with his hands held out to people surrounding him, those to his right heading for Heaven and those to his left heading for the fiery pits of Hell. This message, commonly depicted during the Gothic period, was designed to scary and evoke emotion from the public. The architectural plan of Maclou includes a radiating chapel. Although the ambulatory going around the church was customary during the Romanesque period as well, it appears in Saint Maclou’s blueprint.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.