MedievalArt.org.uk - Photographs by Dr Stuart Whatling

Auxerre Cathedral - the Medieval Stained Glass

To view details, click the enabled bay numbers in the diagram below, or the captions below right.

 

Choir Windows
Bay 20 - St Mary of Egypt

Bay 21 - Creation

Overview:

. Auxerre was for me an intensely frustrating cathedral. On the one hand it was one of my favourite places to visit; the narrative portal sculpture is among the best anywhere and the glass, despite the harm it suffered from the Huguenot iconoclasts, contains some real gems of narrative technique. The setting is also wonderful - a beautiful cathedral on the edge of a fascinating medieval town with all the culinary attractions one expects from Burgundy. On the other hand it was my worst nightmare in terms of photographing the stained glass. The glass is in very poor condition and desperately needs cleaning and conservation (or at least it did when I last visited in 2010) and despite making four week-long visits at different times of the year, for me the sun always shone brightly on Auxerre. The effect of bright sun and dirty glass is that one loses all detail from photographs. On the windows of the south side, where the sun falls most, the contrast range explodes beyond anything the camera can record and light bleeding round the edges of brighter sections obscures adjoining details. Meanwhile, on the north side of the building, although the transmitted light may be less intense, one has to cope with high levels of incident light, which means one can only photograph the inner paint (and soot!) surface. All this is by way of explanation for why the photographs in this section are both poor and incomplete - I photographed most of the north choir windows as best as I could but I only managed to shoot one window on the south side.

 

 

Bay 21 - Creation Bay 20 - St Mary of Egypt