Church of Saint-Maclou

Rouen, France

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.

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Details

Founded: c. 1432
Category: Religious sites in France

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Mr Vexorus (13 months ago)
Must-see!
Marat Rakhimov (18 months ago)
Important! Opening hours: only Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10 to 12 and from 14 to 18
L. Windsor (2 years ago)
A fine gothic gem, must see.
Peter Kidd (2 years ago)
Nice from the outside, but only open on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, so I didn't see inside.
kaeso (2 years ago)
Beautiful Church in the old town of Rouen. The church was partially destroyed during WW2 but rebuilt the same way.
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Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

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