Medieval France. An Encyclopedia

(Darren Dugan) #1

screens. The elegance of the ribs is the main characteristic of the Angevin style in the late
years of the 12th century.
The four square bays, which comprise the transept and choir of the cathedral of
Angers, reveal the stylistic influence of Saint-Martin and the Hospice. The ribs are a
simple torus molding under the domical vaults, which are doubled or widened for the
transverse and wall ribs. Eight-part vaults of diagonals, ridge ribs, and liernes spring to
the central keystone from the keystone of the wall (or longitudinal) rib. The marked
domical profile, the thin rib, and eight-part vaults are exactly like the eastern bay of the
choir of Saint-Martin. Transept and choir of the cathedral were built in the first half of the
13th century; the narrow bay and apse date from the second half of the 13th century.
One outstanding example of Angevin Gothic remains to be discussed: the choir of the
Benedictine monastery of Saint-Serge. The plan consists of a four-bay nave with smaller
aisles, all the same height. Nave bays and the three western bays are capped with eight-
part, domical vaults with thin, rounded ribs—transverse, longitudinal, ridge, diagonals,
and two ribs springing from the keystone of the longitudinal ribs. The carved and
polychromed keystones capture eight ribs. With ribs of different lengths, the bay becomes
domical in shape with the ribs visible on the top of the vaults. Flanking the nave and
aisles are chapels of two bays at a higher level. A small square apse extends eastward.
The ribs multiply in the eastern half of the apse,

Angers, Saint-Maurice, nave elevation

and section. After Losowska.

eastern bays of the aisles, and eastern bay of the north chapel. The proliferation of ribs by
the addition of more liernes exhibits, together with the thinness of the nave supports, the
decorative delicacy of the structure.
It is the Angevin Gothic of the choir of the cathedral, of Saint-Martin, and of Saint-
Serge that spreads beyond the walls of Angers and to the south of the Loire River.
Angevin Gothic is a unique style, found only in areas around Angers and to the south.
Little attention is given to the exteriors, since no flying buttresses were utilized. Often,
these buildings consist of a single nave or interior spaces of the same height with
emphasis on elaborate vaulting.
In the nave and crossing of the cathedral of Saint-Maurice are floral capitals vaguely
following the Corinthian type, often with human heads and elaborately carved abaci. The
west portal of the cathedral is based on the west-central portal of Chartres. Christ in

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