Up close and personal

I made these images today and they are quite special. The expressive medieval faces - and a pair of hands - are part of the stained-glass “Great East Windows” at York Minster and they date from 1408. Not many people have seen these details from this close, for the simple reason that they are normally positioned twenty meters or so above ground level. Except for now. They are presently being restored and thus taken down, one segment at the time, to be treated by experts. Visiting the cathedral gets you face to face - literally if you want - with these 700-year-old individuals. It is sensational to see them the way the artisans did when they made them, especially knowing they will soon be out of reach again, perhaps for centuries to come.

Pics (my own): York Cathedral, restoration exhibition.



Blueprint of medieval cathedral

This is cool. The top image shows a drawing on parchment from the 1260s. It is one of the earliest existing architectural drawings and depicts the façade, or front, of Strasbourg Cathedral in France. The “blueprint” almost stands a meter tall. What’s so special about this medieval artifact is that it still exists: single sheets rarely survive from the Middle Ages (with the exception of charters). Equally special is that we can compare the drawing to the real thing (lower pic): it is not hard to recognizes the big round window in both drawing and real building - note also the door underneath it and the pointy window to the right. How great that we are given a peek on the medieval architect’s drawing board. Ironically, he did not live to see his creation built, because the cathedral was finished in the 14th century.

Pic: Musée de l’Oeuvre Notre-Dame, Strasbourg, Inv. no. 2. More about the drawing here. The photograph is from this blog.