1 M. Proust (ed. and transl.) La Bible d'Amiens par John
Ruskin, Paris 1986, Preface. This work originally appeared in the Mercure
de France in 1903. J. Ruskin, "The Bible of Amiens," Our
Fathers Have Told Us. Sketches in the History of Christendom for Boys and
Girls who have been held at its Fonts, Orpington, 1884, published in
Collected Works, XXXIII, London, 1908. On the intellectual encounter
between Proust and Ruskin, see A. Crpin, "Ruskin, Proust et la
cathdrale d'Amiens," Trav. Acad. Amiens, 1975.
2 M. Proust (ed. and transl.) La Bible, 44-45, "Voici
termin l'enseignement que les hommes du XIIIe. sicle allaient
chercher la cathdrale et que, par une luxe inutile et bizarre,
elle continue donner en une sorte de livre ouvert, crit dans
un langage solennel o chaque caractre est une oeuvre d'art,
et que personne ne comprend plus." There is, in this statement, a glorious
combination of censure and wistfulness
3 G. Deleuze, Proust et les signes, Paris, 1970, 195,
"Il n'y a pas de Logos, il n'y a que les hiroglyphes."
4 On the ideographic axis, A. Katzenellenbogen, The Sculptural
Programs of Chartres Cathedral, New York, 1959, 9-22. On the Beau
Dieu, W. Schlink, Der Beau Dieu von Amiens, Das Christusbild der
gotischen Kathedrale, Frankfurt-am-Main, 1991, esp. 82.
5 Revelation, 1, 7, "Behold, he cometh with clouds;
and every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him; and all kindreds
of the earth shall wail because of him." Revelation, I, 16, "....
and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword...." All texts are
taken from the King James Bible.
6 On the links between Last Judgement and Eucharist, see
G. Wainwright, Eucharist and Eschatology, New York, 1981. More will
be said of this later.
7 On Transubstantion see E. Vollert, New Catholic Encyclopaedia.,
XIV, 259-261. On the problems of definition peculiar to the years of
construction of Amiens Cathedral see M. Rubin, Corpus Christi. The Eucharist
in Late Medieval Culture, Cambridge, 1991, especially 1-35, "At
the centre of the whole religious system of the later Middle Ages lay a
ritual which turned bread into flesh--a fragile small wheaten disk into
8 W. Schlink, Der Beau Dieu, 96, has reminded us of
the alternative tradition of Mary and John Baptist as intercessors.
9 On the resurrection of the body see especially Saint Augustine,
The City of God (de Civitate Dei), transl. J. Healey, ed.
R. V. G. Tasker, 2 vols, Everyman, London 1962; also conveniently available
in one volume (abridged) transl. G. Walsh, D. Zema, G. Monahan and D. Honan,
ed. V. Bourke, New York, 1958, esp. 485. "On that day, we shall see
plainly the true fullness of the felicity of all the saints and only of
the saints, as we shall see the supreme and deserved misery of the wicked
and of the wicked alone." The Last Judgement will end the terms of
the two cities: of God and of the Devil. I am most grateful to Caroline
Bynum who kindly shared with me her unpublished manuscript, "Bodily
Miracles and the Resurrection of the Body in the High Middle Ages,"
Belief In History, ed. T. Kselman, Notre Dame, 1991, 68-106; see
also idem, "Material Continuity, Personal Survival and the Resurrection
of the Body: A Scholastic Discussion in Its Medieval and Modern Contexts,"
Fragmentation and Redemption. Essays on Gender and the Human Body in
Medieval Religion, New York, 1991
10 The devil's head is the work of the restorer, Caudron,
who, subject to the scathing criticism of Didron, insisted that he had simply
put back what had already been there.
11 The head of Ecclesia has been restored.
12 Matthew, 24, 29-31. We cannot hope here to provide a comprehensive
survey of scholarship of the Last Judgement in Gothic art. The theme has
been addressed recently by P. Gerson, "Suger as Iconographer: The Central
Portal of the West Facade of Saint-Denis," Abbot Suger and Saint-Denis,
A Symposium, New York, 1980, 183-198 and C. Rudolph, Artistic Change
at St-Denis. Abbot Suger's Program and the Early Twelfth-Century Controversy
over Art, Princeton, 1990. See also the very useful pages of M. L. Threl,
Le triomphe de la Vierge-Eglise: l'origine du dcor du portail occidental
de Notre-Dame de Senlis, Paris, 1984, esp. 266-284 ; Y. Christe, La
vision de Matthieu (Matth. XXIV-XXV). Origines et developpement d'une image
de la seconde Parousia, Paris, 1973; B. Brenk, Tradition und Neuerung
in der Christlichen Kunst des ersten Jahrtausends. Studien zur Geschichte
des Weltgerichtsbilds, Vienna, 1966. The older literature includes G.
Voss, Das Jngste Gericht in der bildenen Kunst des frhen
Mittelalters, Leipzig, 1884; A. Bouillet, Le jugement dernier dans
l'art aux douze premiers sicles, Paris, 1894; W. H. von der Mlbe,
Die Darstellung des Jngsten Gerichts in den romanischen und gotischen
Kirchenportalen Frankreichs, Leipzig, 1911.
13 A sinister reference to the mastication of the Host.
14 These scenes, like their benign counterparts on the other
side, are carved, for the most part, from seperate blocks of stone and set
in front of the concave field of the voussoir. W. Schlink has suggested
that we see these scenes not as hell, but as purgatory, Der Beau Dieu,
91. See also J. Le Goff, Le naissance du purgatoire, Paris, 1981.
The scenes from the innermost voussoir to the outermost include the following.
1. A large male devil grasps a naked female by the neck. To the front a
crouching naked figure is weighed down by a heavy object slung around the
neck and in the background anguish is expressed through the wringing of
hands. 2. A male figure is strangled by a large devil and a second figure
is forced to the ground by a second devil while a third figure expresses
consternation. 3. The boiling cauldron of hell is tended by two devils one
of whom offers a red hot poker to an occupant of the cauldron. A male is
held up with legs asplay as a devil snuffles his groin and another devil
defecates on the group. 4. A blindfolded (female ?) horseman with two swords
stabs a naked man seated behind him in the stomach. 5. A naked apocalyptic
horseman with scales. 6. A cockatrice.
15 W. Schlink, Der Beau Dieu, 132.
16 As did Abbot Suger and W. de Brailes.
17 Matthew, 25. The parable introduces the idea of the wedding
feast to which we are invited. The Eucharist is, of course, that feast,
see G. Wainwright, Eucharist and Eschatology, "Antepast of Heaven,"
18 W. Schlink, Der Beau Dieu, 143, credits John Ruskin
(1883) with the popularization of the term "Beau Dieu," as applied
to the central trumeau figure at Amiens. The Amiens statue probably follows
a decade or so after the prototype in the south transept center portal of
Chartres Cathedral (where Christ also tramples beasts) and is more or less
contemporaneous with the equivalent figure on the Reims Cathedral north
transept. The Amiens figure seems much more dynamic than either of these
19 Thus, the lilies on the flank of the Amiens trumeau may
refer to Song of Songs, 2, 1: "I am the rose of Sharon and the lily
of the valley."
20 Honorius of Autun, P.L., 172, col. 913-914, "Super
aspidem et basiliscum ambulabis et conculcabis leonem et draconem."
See also E. Mle, The Gothic Image, New York, 1958, 43-44. The
image of the triumphant figure trampling and impaling his enemy was derived
from Roman imperial art, mediated by Constantinian Christian programs, see
C. Ihm, Die Programme der christlichen Apsismalerei vom vierten Jahrhundert
bis zur Mitte des achten Jahrhunderts, Wiesbaden, 1960, 32-33 where
the author cites Eusebius's description of an image in Constantine's palace
of the triumphant emperor impaling with a cross staff Licinius, the antiquus
serpens . See also A. Grabar, L'Empereur dans l'art byzantin, Paris,
1936, and K. M. Openshaw, "Weapons in the Daily Battle: Images of the
Conquest of Evil in the Early Medieval Psalter, Art Bull., LXXV,
1993, 17-38. Ivory book covers and panels provided the means by which this
type of image penetrated the west. Thus, in the so-called Genoels-Elderen
Ivory the link between the triumphant Christ is holding a book and a small
cross and trampling the beasts and Psalm 91 is made explicit in the verses
around the frame, see C. L. Neuman de Vegvar, "The Origin of the Genoels-Elderen
Ivories, " Gesta, XXIX, 1990, 8-25. The use of figurative consoles
that appeared tentatively in the Chartres west portals was systematized
in the transept portals of the same cathedral between around 1200 and the
21 Schlink, Der Beau Dieu, 130, explained the unusual
placement of Peter to Christ's left in conection with Early Christian mosaic
programs. In the Chartres south transept central portal Peter is placed
to Christ's right. Dean Jean d'Abbeville of Amiens held Saint Paul in special
esteem--this is indicated by the dean's establishment of a chapel dedicated
to the Conversion of Saint Paul.
22 D. Bell, The Image and Likeness. The Augustinian Spirituality
of William of St Thierry, Cistercian Publications, Kalamazoo, 1984,
esp. 115, quoting William of St Thierry, "There [in heaven] to be like
God will be to see God or to know (cognoscere ) him. He who knows
him or sees him does so insofar as he is like him, and to the extent that
he is like him, so much he knows or sees him. For there, to see or know
God is to be like God, and to be like him is to see or know him." At
Amiens the Apostles in the jambs of the central portal face inwards toward
the Beau Dieu of the trumeau. See also C. Bynum, "Did the Twelfth
Century Discover the Individual?" Jesus as Mother: Studies in the
Spirituality of the High Middle Ages, Berkeley, 1982, 82-109
23 A. Katzenellenbogen, Allegories of the Virtues and
Vices in Medieval Art, London, 1939, esp. 79 where the author notes
that the twelve-figure system was derived from the writings of Hugh of Saint-Victor;
J. O'Reilly, Studies in the Iconography of the Virtues and Vices in the
Middle Ages, New York and London, 1983, esp. 83 links the Virtues and
Vices with penitance and the the necessity for confession enjoined by the
1215 Lateran Council. See also M. Rubin, Corpus Christi, 102.
24 This seal-like quality is particularly significant given
the fact that likeness (that is proximity to Christ) was often described
as being "impressed," see D. Bell, The Image and Likeness,
36, 42. Hugh of St. Victor applied the seal metaphor directly to way
that virtue is imprinted upon the life of the saint, see C. Bynum, "Did
the Twelfth Century Discover the Individual?" 97-98.
25 On the theme of the triumphant Virgin Mary see P. Verdier,
Le couronnement de la vierge: les origines et les premiers dveloppements
d'un thme iconographique, Montral, 1980; M.-L. Threl,
Le triomphe . On Amiens see M. Rickard, "The Iconography of
the Virgin Portal at Amiens," Gesta, XXII, 1983, 147-157. Verdier,
Le couronnement, 113-152, notes the popularity of Marian portals
in the north of France, particularly in the area around Amiens--one thinks
of the portals at the abbey church of Corbie, Longpr-les-Corps-Saints,
Laon Cathedral and Saint-Nicolas of Amiens.
26 E. Guldan, Eva und Maria. Eine Antithese als Bildmotiv,
Graz-Cologne, 1966, esp. 124-128.
27 On the significance of the Tabernacle as a premonition
of the Church, see A. Prache, Saint-Remi de Reims, and O. von Simson,
The Gothic Cathedral, New York, 1956.
28 J. Foucart-Borville, "Les tabernacles eucharistiques
dans la France au Moyen-Age," Bull. mon., CXLVIII, 1990, 349-381.
29 Hebrews 9 provides the most explicit exploration of the
interaction between the First Covenant symbolized by the Tabernacle and
the Ark that contained manna, the tablets of the law and Aaron's rod and
the New Covenant wrought through the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection
of Christ and his Second Coming.
30 Similar seated patriarchs are found in the Coronation
of the Virgin portal to the north of the west faade of Notre-Dame
31 On the early apocryphal accounts of the Dormition ("transitus
sanctae Mariae") see M.-L. Therel, Le triomphe, 18-30. Such
accounts began to circulate in written form in the first centuries of Christianity
but the Church hesitated before accepting them. Therel indicates that the
general acceptance of the Feast of the Assumption (August 15) was delayed
until the eleventh and twelfth centuries in the West.
32 Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend, transl.
G. Ryan and H.
Ripperger, New York, 1969, 451.
33 The sources and development of this image are discussed
by Verdier, Le couronnement, and Therel, Le triomphe. The
most important literary source was the Song of Solomon where the sponsa
and sponsus (bride and groom) of the Song are seen as as types of
Mary and Christ. The wedding feast was a type of Eucharistic feast.
34 M.-L. Therel, Le triomphe, 200, "Notre Reine
nous a precds et a reu un accueil si glorieux que nous,
ses petits serviteurs suivons avec confiance les traces de notre souveraine
en nous criant: "entranez-nous votre suite, nous
courons l'odeur de vos parfums."
35 This text was used in the liturgy for the dedication of
churches, see O. von Simson, The Gothic Cathedral, 8n.
36 Including Isaiah in the central portal and Sainte Ulphe
in the north portal.
37 Laon Cathedral provides a precedent for such insistance
upon signs of virgin birth, see W. Sauerlnder, Gothic Sculpture.
38 The quatrefoil image of Sheba recalls an ancient Venus--I
am grateful to Eunice McGuire who brought this association to my attention.
39 M. Rickard, "The Iconography," 151, suggests
that the emphasis upon Herod's agency was derived from the liturgical plays
performed at Epiphany that became increasingly popular after the discovery
of the relics of the Three Kings in 1158 and their translation to Cologne.
40 W. Sauerlnder, Gothic Sculpture, 146. On
the base of the trumeau, now heavily eroded, were scenes from the life of
the evangelist: his arrival in Amiens; his execution; the miraculous discovery
of his body; the participation of citizens from neighboring towns; the triumphal
procession back to Amiens; the healing of the Seigneur of Beaugency.
41 On the world of tombs, see P. Brown, Relics and Social
Status in the Age of Gregory of Tours, The Stenton Lecture, Reading,
1977; idem The Cult of Saints: Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity,
42 Acta Sanctorum, Septembris, VII, 34, "With
indescribable terror he [Bishop Sauve] saw as if a ray of light coming from
a lofty throne lighting the place where Saint Firmin lay. Grateful for this
great sign of divine mercy he began quickly, and in great reverence, to
dig, and to open the tomb of the gentle martyr. Straight away a wonderful
odor emanated--as if all kinds of colors and scents were crushed together,
and the countryside was alive with the beauty of various flowers. He [Bishop
Sauve] raised him up from the sepulchre and started home, the people bringing
with them the holy martyr to the city. Crowds of people rushed up on the
way throwing their clothes on the road and crying in a loud voice, 'Hosanna
in the highest, blessed is he who comes in the nave of the Lord.' The most
blessed Bishop Sauve placed [the relic] in the eastern crypt of the splendid
church that he had constructed in honor of the said martyrs and buried him
with respect and with honor decorating the tomb nobly with gold and with
On the prospecting for saints' relics and the wonderful odors
that characteristically attended the invention see P. Brown, Relics,
43 Idem, 34, "And the entire multitude from the cities
of Throuanne, Cambrai, Noyon and Beauvais, satiated at that time by
the sweetness and delicacy of that wonderful odor thought that it had come
to the delights of paradise. And all the priests and clergy and the populance
of both sexes from the afore-mentioned cities rushed ahead with candles
and with palms, singing hymns and psalms, gaining speed on their way to
Amiens, each following his own headlong rush." P. Brown, Relics,
15 also deals with the social and political implications of the triumphal
reception of relics, "The arrival of a relic was an occasion for a
skilfully enacted dialogue between relic and bishop, in which the secure
holiness of one high-lighted and orchestrated the personal and, so, fragile
holiness of the other." See also idem, The Cult of Saints, 92.
44 Ibid, 34, "And when the venerable Bishop Sauve and
the religious, priests of Christ, raised Firmin from his tomb, the substance
of all the elements was changed, and such boiling heat came into the world
that all the people present, in a state of ecstacy, were amazed."
45 G. Durand, "Le grand portail." C. Salmon, "Iconographie,"
proposes as different identification: left side from the door outwards,
Firmin, Angel, Fuscien, Victoric, Angel, Ulphe. Right side Honor,
Domice, Sauve, Genrien, Unknown, Unknown.
46 See R. Javelet, Image et ressemblance au douzime
sicle, 2 vols, Paris, 1967, esp. I, 120, where the author discusses
the predestination of the elect that results from the discovery of the internal
image of Christ. The purpose of this predestination, according to Hugh of
Saint Victor, was the praise of God by men associated with angels. This
praise consists of nothing other than the spitirual happiness that results
from perfect conformity to the divine model.
47 On Sainte Ulphe and Saint Domice see J. Corblet, Hagiographie
du diocse d'Amiens, 5 vols, Amiens, 1868-1875, esp. III, 536-581.
Ulphe is remembered partly on account of the unusual miracle of the frogs
(see the picture hanging in a chapel of the cathedral choir). In her solitary
existence the saint faced an unexpected difficulty of an ecological kind.
The hermitage was in the middle of a swamp that was filled with frogs that
were as energetic as they were vociferous. After a sleepless night filled
with the croakings of her companions, Ulphe was unable to arouse herself
for matins. As a result of her prayers the unfortunate creatures were placed
under interdict. The nineteenth-century compiler of the hagiographies of
the diocese of Amiens noted that the frogs in the area around Saint Ulphe's
oratory were, indeed, very quiet, but if they were taken elsewhere they
quickly became boisterous.
48 The importance of Sainte Ulphe in the thirteenth century
is reflected by the fact that her physical remembrance was ensured by a
chapel in immediate proximity to the treasury where John Baptist's head
was kept on the north flank of the choir and the spring where she lived
was in the north choir aisle. Her chsse was on the relic altar.
49 In the left portal of the west faade of Notre-Dame
in Paris the (nineteenth-century) Saint Denis is also accompanied by angels.
50 According to some sources these two evangelists were Greeks,
sent to Gaul by a disciple of Polycarp. An alternative tradition represents
both saints as local figures, executed at the end of the third century,
and In the seventh century the relics of the saints were all transferred
into the city to the church then called Saints Peter and Paul, later to
be known as Saint Firmin the Confessor. It should be noted that Corblet,
Hagiographie, I, 339, identifies these two figures as Fuscien and
51 For Saint Honor see J. Corblet, Hagiographie,
52 Ibid, II, 189-216.
53 Ibid, III, 463-487.
54 Ibid, 182-185.
55 It would obviously be a mistake to be too dogmatic about
the identity of such figures. The two last-mentioned may have been carved
as prophets and later deployed as saints.
56 S. Nichols, Romanesque Signs, Early Medieval Narrative
and Iconography, New Haven, 1983, has much to say about the power of
the repeating patterns of historia.
57 A. Katzenellenbogen, "The Prophets;" M. Aubert,
58 Particularly useful is the short article, "Prophtisme,"
Dictionnaire de Spiritualit, XII, Paris, 1986, 2410-2446.
60 W. Schlink, Der Beau Dieu, 129, suggested that
the right-to-left ordering was intended to follow the reading sequence of
Hebraic script. It seems more likely, however, that the intention was to
match the themes of the prophecies with the program of each portal.
61 B. Smalley, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages,
Notre-Dame, 1970, 265.
62 P. R. House, The Unity of the Twelve, Sheffield,
63 A. Katzenellenbogen, "The Prophets," 11.
64 Why was the local saints portal placed on this, the north
side, and the portal of the Mre de Dieu on the south where
it could be understood as lying to the left of the central Christ and hence
on the side of the damned? The arrangement may have been intended to echo
the arrangement of the churches of the former episcopal group where the
church of Saint-Firmin the Confessor lay to the north and Notre-Dame to
65 L. von Matt and G. Bovini, Ravenna, Cologne, 1971,
75-101. The Amiens apostles bear a strong resemblence to the Ravennate prophets
(middle level of the Sant'Apollinare mosaics) both in stance and drapery.
66 W. Medding and W. Schlink also commented on the connection
to Italo-Byzantine art.
67 We know that the members of this council participated
in the rededication of the church of S. Maria in Trastevere on November
15 in 1215. The description of the procession suggests that it turned into
a type of Triumphal entry with the boys of Rome bearing the branches of
trees and crying, "Kyrieleyson, Christeleyson," see S. Kuttner
and A. Garcia y Garcia, A New Eyewitness Account of the Fourth Lateran Council,"
Traditio, XX, 1964, 115-178. For the mosaics of S. Maria in Trastevere,
see W. Oakshott, The Mosaics of Rome, New York, 1967, 243-256. Certain
elements of the mosaic program at S. Maria are of obvious relevance for
Amiens--particularly the Wise and Foolish Virgins inside the faade
and the Coronation of the Virgin in the apse. The lines of nearly identical
Apostles flanking the central Christ (with Peter to his right) strongly
recall Early Christian apse mosaics such as those in the oratory at Monte
della Guistizia or the church of S. Agata dei Goti in Rome (C. Ihm, Die
Programme der Christlichen Apsismalerei, 16; Fig. IV, 1). Ihm (pp.124-126)
reminds us that the apse was a kind of door (porta triumphalis )
opening into a heavenly realm: Parousia . For the concept of Parousia,
the coming of the glorified Christ as the climax of salvation history, see
the article by C. P. Ceroke and S. J. Duffy in New Catholic Encyclopaedia
, X, 1032-1039.
68 The late Byzantine commentary on the Eucharist by Nicholas
Cabasilas (died 1363) evokes this shimmering quality in describing the way
the Eucharist anticipates the vision of Christ in Paradise, "'when
he shall gird himself and make them [the elect] to sit down, and he will
come forth and serve them'; he will come resplendent upon the clouds, and
he will make the just to shine like the sun."
69 The Venerable Bede, Operum, II, P.L. XCI, cols.
779-780; Richard of Saint-Victor, Exegetica in Apocalypsis Johanem, P.L.,
CXCVI, col. 736. I am grateful to Sergio van Asch La Porta for sharing with
me the results of his research on Biblical columns.
70 E. Panofsky, Abbot Suger on the Abbey Church of St-Denis
and its Art Treasures, Princeton, 1979, 105, "The midst of the
edifice, however, we raised aloft by twelve columns representing the number
of the Twelve Apostles and, secondarily, by as many columns in the side-aisles
signifying the number of the [minor] Prophets...."
71 R. Javelet, Image et Ressemblance, 248.
72 John, 10, 9, I am the door: by me if any man enter in,
he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture. In Matthew,
25, 10, the foolish virgins had the door closed to them.
73 Logos is divine reason or wisdom understood by
means of the human intellect in the natural forms (including man) which
mirror the perfection of an ideal world. The concept has its roots in the
use of the Aramaic word memra to safeguard the transcendence of the
divine name; in Platonism; in the Joannine writings of the New Testament,
and in the Church Fathers, especially in the tradition of Saint Augustine,
see the articles by C. J. Peter and D. M. Crossan in the New Catholic
Encyclopaedia, VIII, 967-972.
74 A. C. Esmeijer, Divina Quaternitas. A Preliminary Study
of the Method and Application of Visual Exegesis, Amsterdam, 1970, deals
with this kind of non-verbal exegesis: see especially Fig. 83, fol. 7vo
from Munich, Staatsbibl. Clm. 13002, "Microcosmos," for the central
image of man set in a square-root-of-two rectangle. I base my conclusions
on the three west portals at Amiens upon the recent and highly accurate
photogrammetric rendering of the faade.
75 M. Rubin deals with the formation of clusters of
images as a means of preparing the laity for the mass, Corpus Christi,
105. Within Rubin's intellectual framework the formulation of images
like those in the portals at Amiens are part of the clergy's attempt to
ensure correct reception of the Eucharist.
76 The Amiens Beau Dieu, the Man of Sorrows and the
Apocalyptic Christ of the tympanum resemble Thomas of Cteaux's three
images of Christ that are stamped upon the human recipient: see Thomas's
commentary on the Song of Songs, P. L. 206, 809.
77 On the appearance of the resurrected body, see Saint Augustine,
City of God, XXII, ed. V. Bourke, 530, "And what a body, too,
we shall have, a body utterly subject to our spirit and one so kept alive
by spirit that there will be no need of any other food. For, it will be
a spiritual body, no longer merely animal, one composed, indeed, of flesh,
but free from every corruption of the flesh." The little puff of clouds
at the feet of each of the column figures strengthens the argument for the
78 See note 22 above. It might be objected that such "sameness"
applies only to the inner self, the soul, not the body, for it is the soul
that is "ad imaginem Dei." However, there is much evidence to
suggest that twelfth and thirteenth century theologians considered the relation
of the body to the soul as analagous to the relationship between man and
God. The corporeal image is mediated by Christ; see the chapter, "Nature
et corps, vestige de dieu," in R. Javelet, Image et ressemblance,
224-236, especially 234.
79 W. Schlink, Der Beau Dieu, 43-57. For the temptation
of Christ, see Matthew 4, 1-11. This was the Gospel reading for the first
Sunday in Lent. Particularly powerful are the words of Petrus Lombardus
(cited by Schlink, 52-53), "This [Psalm 91] is the psalm with which
the devil dared to tempt our lord, Jesus Christ. But the temptation of Christ
provides our doctrine. Just as Christ was once tempted and overcame the
temptation through humility, so he teaches us to triumph over the devil,
and he gave us the means of overcoming, if only we will truly imitate Christ.
This should not be done in pride and arrogance, as with the first human
couple, but in humility like that of him who calls to us, 'learn from me,
for I am meek and lowly of heart [Matthew 12, 29]." But whoever imitates
Christ in this way, he will enter through the door. The door is Christ,
who says, 'I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved,
and shall go in and out and find pasture [ Matthew, 10,9]. To enter the
doorway is to enter through Christ. To enter through him means to imitate
him, to become like him, not in glory and in marvels, but as I have already
said, in lowliness and modesty, so that in following him we may overcome
the devil through him. The psalm is about this triumph--of Christ and his
followers...it is a hymn: the triumph of Christ over the demons."
80 For the idea of the forming form, see Javelet, Image
et ressemblance, 107-110. For architectual metaphors of Christ (derived
from Saint Paul), see M. Carruthers, "The Poet as Master-Builder,"
81 On the medieval understanding of predestination see Ibid,
118-124. The idea of the pre-established elect is already expressed in Romans,
5, 17, "For if by one man's offence death reigneth by one; much more
they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall
reign in life by one, Jesus Christ [my italics]."
82 G. Wainwright, Eucharist and Eschatology, 61, citing
I Corinthians, 11, 26, "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink
this cup, ye do show the Lord's death until he come [my italics]."
The idea of judgement is associated with the self-examination undertaken
by each participant in the Eucharist, ibid, 27-34. Matthew's account (Matthew
26, 28) of the Last Supper suggests that through the Eucharist sins may
be forgiven and final damnation avoided, "For this is my blood of the
new testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins." And
John, 6, "... he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever,"
The Eucharist was both a memorial of the first coming of Christ and a prayer
for the Second Coming, the Parousia. At that second coming, "the
penitant believer is justified, acquitted; and at every eucharist the divine
acquittal is pronounced that will be heard at the last assize, see Wainwright,
Eucharist, 67; 83. Particularly interesting, in the context of the
Statutes of Coventry (1224/7), was the comparison of the bell sounded at
the moment of the elevation of the host with the "gentle trumpet announding
the arrival of a judge, indeed the saviour," see M. Rubin, Corpus
83 Brown deals with the power of the adventus --the
triumphal arrival of the relics in the city, memorialized in annual festivals--as
a means of creating social consensus, see Relics, 20. M. Fassler,
"Liturgy and Sacred History in the Twelfth-Century Tympana at Chartres,"
Art Bull. LXXV, 1993, 499-520 develops the theme with specific references
to the liturgical sources. Fassler's emphasis upon the the diachronic character
of the twelfth-century sculptural program at Chartres (time before Christ;
Christ's coming; the end of time) corresponds very much with the reading
of the Amiens sculpture proposed in these pages.
84 Bibl. nat., Collection de Picardie, 14, Notes of canon
Willeman, esp 51; J. Baron, Description, 227-228; C. Salmon, Histoire
de Saint-Firmin, 153-154; C. Calippe, Les "bones gens"
d'Amiens," 32-35, where it is noted that the visit of the Green
Man was one of several physical re-enactments of critical events of the
liturgical year. For example, on Easter morning white-robed "women"
(played by chaplains) would appear to discover the tomb empty. At Pentecost
burning wicks and flower petals were released from the high vaults and at
the Purification of the Virgin an image of the virgin-queen was placed in
the nave. The idea of the Green Man is obviously a very rich one with many
ramifications and enormous significance for our understanding of Gothic
architectural forms that have always been understood in relation to forests
and foliage. Gothic architecture of the thirteenth century brings multiple
references to naturalistic flowers and leaves sometimes personified in the
form of leaf masks, see, for example, Villard de Honnecourt's rendering,
H. Hahnloser, Villard de Honnecourt, Plate 10. This kind of "Green
Man" has been discussed by W. Anderson, "The Green Man,"
Parabola, Myth and the Quest for Life, XIV, 1989, 26-33.
85 The practice was suppressed in 1737, see C. Salmon, Histoire
de Saint Firmin, 155 and canon Willeman, 51. The canons claimed that
the event had become baudy. Willeman thought that the event served merely
as a "divertissement au menu peuple;" Calippe, on the other hand,
saw the termination of these practices and the triumph of "reason"
as the final rupture of spiritual unity and social equilibrium that set
the stage for Revolution and Disestablishment.
86 Peggy Brown and Phyllis Roberts have both been most generous
in their advice and suggestions on the subject of medieval sermons. It would
be impossible here to provide a comprehensive bibliography on the subject
of medieval sermons. The starting point is still provided by A. Lecoy de
la Marche, La chaire franaise au moyen ge, Paris, 1886,
reprint, Geneva, 1974. Jean Longre, La prdication mdivale,
Paris, 1983, provides a modern survey, and P. B. Roberts, Studies
in the Sermons of Stephen Langton, Toronto, 1968, provides an excellent
introduction to the study of sermons and brings the discussion close to
the time and place of Amiens. An overview of sermon historiography is found
in M. Briscoe and B. H. Jaye, Artes praedicandi; Artes Orandi, Brepols,
Turnhout, 1992. For recent work on the Late Gothic material, see L. Taylor,
Soldiers of Christ, New York and Oxford, 1992 and H. Martin, Le
mtier du prdicateur en France septentrionale la fin du
moyen ge (1350-1520), Paris, 1988. For a discussion of the possible
interaction between preaching and programs of Gothic sculpture (with bibliography),
see M.-L. Therel, Le triomphe, 317-321.
87 A. Crampon, "Un sermon prch dans la cathdrale
d'Amiens vers l'an 1260." See Bibl nat., Collection de Picardie, 158,
fol. 131 for a late-thirteenth century transcript of the sermon and idem,
14, fol. 64 for an eighteenth-century copy. A. Lecoy de la Marche deals
extensively with the sermon, emphasizing its unique character, see La
chaire franaise, 185-188. This author saw the sermon as aimed
at pilgrims in order to raise money for the unfinished cathedral, noting
the promise of a forty-day remission to be gained for coming to church and
contributing to its completion ("par attendre la besoigne le douce
madame sainte Marie que ele soit aconsome....") He puts the sermon
before 1269, the date normally accepted for the "completion" of
the cathedral. However, it might be pointed out that the cathedral never
was completely finished. The handwriting points to a date towards 1300.
88 Ibid, 556, "Pechierres, fait N.S., l u ge te
trouverai, l te jugerai."
The strategy of the preacher was a common one. L. Taylor,
Soldiers of Christ, 86, expresses it thus: "A pessimistic anthropology
was therefore balanced by an optimistic soteriology in which, thanks to
God, everything was possible for the repentant sinner." On the interaction
between sermons and images see especially H. Martin, Le mtier du
prdicateur, 585-592. Martin reinforces the position taken by Miri
Rubin that images, like sermons, prepare the devout communicant for the
proper reception of the host: "visus, auditus, gustus."
89 A. Crampon, "Un sermon," 567, "La douce
mere Diu sainte Marie d'Amiens, ele est vostre dame seur totes dames; c'est
la dame du monde; c'est la roine des glorieus chieus; c'est l'avoir as pecheeurs
et as pecheris; ce est la sauveresse des ames; ce est espouse N. S; ele
est mere Jhesu-Crist; ele est temples du Saint Esperit. Ceste dame rapele
les foliaus; elle redreche les cheus; ceste dame, c'est secours as catis.
Ele conforte les dolereus, elle relieve les foibles; elle prie por le puile;
elle maintient les honteus; elle deffent les fames. Sachis bien, maus
entra el monde par fame, et bien revint el monde par fame."
90 Ibid, 569, "Bele douce gent, la mere Diu sainte Marie
d'Amiens vous aporte pardon, par foi voirement [vraiment] perdu[rable],"
91 Ibid, 579 "Que sachis entierement que ds
icele eure que li premiers quarriaus de ceste eglise fu asis, et li premiers
enfes baptiss et regeners en sains fons, et li premiers entendemens
et li primiers sacramens N.S. i fu celebrs,--si Dex ait part en l'me
de moi! li diables li anemis ne fu si torments comme il iert au jor
d'ui. Et savs vous por coi il si torments iert? Si me face Dex
pardon! que ce est por les haus pardons et pors les hautes orisons que on
vous aporte entre vous bons crestiens qui bien cres en pardons."
92 Ibid, 579, "Bele douce gent, a vous tous ensanle
et a cascun par soi qui vours reconnoistre la mere Deu S. Marie d'Amiens,
qui est votre mere eglise, dont li bien vous vienent; car il vous en vient
ole, cresme, baptesme, enoliement, enterrement, noches, mariages, li beneois
sacremens en est fais en sainte eglise. Li sires li vesques d'Amiens
qui est nostre pere espiritueus est tenus a vous conduire et mener en paradis,
en la benoite compaignie d'angles, d'arcangles, de martirs, de confs
et bones eureuses virges, qui ont deservi le regne de paradis par martire
de lor cors et par espandemens de lor sanc."
93 Ibid, 590-591, where the listener is invited to think
of Christ's head,
pierced by the crown of thorns; his heart, pierced by the
spear of Longinus; his shoulders; his palms, feet, blood, and flesh. This
is the image of the suffering sacramental Christ as we see it in the central
94 P. Janelle, "Le voyage de Martin Bucer et Paul Fagius
de Strasbourg en Angleterre en 1549," Revue d'Histoire et de Philosophie
religieuses, 1928, 162-177. This travelogue is one of a considerable
body of such material including, for example, A. Eeckman, "Un voyage
en Flandre, Artois et Picardie en 1714 publi d'aprs le manuscrit
du Sieur Nomis par Alex. Eeckman," Annales du Comit flamand
de France, XXII, 1895, 336-572; P. Grosnet, La louenge et description
de plusieurs bonnes villes et citz du noble royaume de France, 1533,
Paris, 1807; Comte de Marsy (ed.) "Les voyages d'un Lillois en
Picardie, 1690-1697," Bull. Soc. Ant. Pic., XVII, 1889-1891,
534; A. Morel, "Journal d'un voyage en Normandie, Picardie, France
et Champagne, 1677," Bull. Soc. Ant. Pic., XXIV, 1909-1910,
95-103; R. Rodire (ed). "Le voyage de Roland de la Platire
en Normandie et en Picardie, Bulletin de la Socit d'Emulation
d'Abbeville, XI, 1918-1921, 152-189;" A. Rostand, Les descriptions
P. Tamizey de Larroque (ed.), Lettres de Peiresc 
publis par Philippe Tamizey de Larroque, Paris, 1896; Amiens,
Bibl. mun., MS 2250 A., Relation ou Journal historique d'un voyage fait
Dunkerque par une socit d'Amis dans le courant de septembre
1750. From some of these accounts we can gain an idea of the importance
of the cult of John Baptist, whose head was kept in an upstairs treasury
to the north of the choir, see Anthoine Morel (1677): "Le lendemain
jeudy apres desjeuner accompagnes dudit sr Milet fusmes a la grande Eglise
y entendismes la messe et eusmes lhonneur de baiser le chef de St Jean dans
une chapelle en haut a cost gauche du coeur et y fismes toucher des
petits chefs d'argent que nous avions achept pour cet effet."
Particularly graphic is the account of Hieronimus Monetarius of a visit
in 1494. The opening of the precious shrine containing the head of John
Baptist in the upstairs chamber caused the pilgrim's heart to thump: "percussit
hec facies corda nostra; et quasi stupidos et attonitos fecit," see
P. Goldschmidt (ed), "Hieronimus Monetarius et ses voyages travers
la France (1494-1495)," Humanisme et Renaissance, VI, 1939,
55-77 and 324-348. This most precious relic was received in Amiens only
a few years before the start of work on the Gothic Cathedral--yet the designers
of the west faade sculptural program did not chose to emphasize the
role of the Precursor. Perhaps this was left to the experience of the pilgrim
who passed by the minor and major prophets of the frontispiece to encounter
the greatest prophet only after entrance to the cathedral.
95 H. Martin notes the lack of specificity about the attributes
of the saints as a general characteristic of late medieval sermons, Le
metier de prdicateur, 594.
96 I am most grateful to Mary Jane Chase for sharing with
me aspects of her research on "Popular Piety in Sixteenth-Century Picardy"
undertaken as a PhD dissertation at Columbia University and continued in
the N.E.H. Summer Seminar, "Gothic in the Ile-de-France," Paris,
97 See especially A. Katzenellenbogen, "Tympanum and
Archivolts," and D. Kimpel and R. Suckale, "Die Skulpturenwerkstatt."
98 The body of the crucified Christ was entirely replaced
in the nineteenth century.
99 E. Berger, Saint Louis et Innocent , 248. The choice
of images in the Saint Honor tympanum may also be understood as part
of the clergy's attempt to prepare the laity for the Eucharist, see "Teaching
the Eucharist with Miracles," M. Rubin, Corpus Christi, 108-129.
100 Saint Honor, was the patron saint of bakers. On
his feast day, the Sunday after Ascension, his chsse was carried
out by the local bakers and pastry cooks.
101 On the Vierge dore most recently see M. C. Chinn,
La vierge dore. Etude technique, prparation aux travaux de
restauration, unpublished manuscript, Paris, 1985 and V. Brunelle, "La
vierge dore," Architecture et dcors peints, 99-100.
W. Sauerlnder places the figure in a loose relationship with Paris
and with Reims and dates it around 1260, see Gothic Sculpture, 175.
102 See S. de Blaauw, "The Solitary Celebration of the
Supreme Pontiff. The Lateran Basilica in the Medieval Liturgy of Maundy
Thursday," Omnes Circumadstantes: Contributions towards a History
of the Role of the People in the Liturgy, eds. C. Caspers and M. Schneiders,
Vitgeversmaatschapij, 1990. I am grateful to Thomas Dale who brought this
reference to my attention. The Lateran Basilica as the New Temple in the
Medieval Liturgy of Maundy Thursday," where the author deals with the
role of the relics of the table of the Last Supper and the remains of the
Ark of the Covenant in the Maundy Thursday liturgy that projected the Lateran
Basilica as the Temple of the New Covenant. It is significant to note the
first recension of the Ordo incorporating various older elements
dates from the pontificate of Innocent III (1198-1216). In a sermon preached
by this pope for the feast of the dedication of the Lateran basilica at
a date somewhere between 1200 and 1220 explicit parallels are drawn between
the Lateran wooden altar and the portable furniture of the ancient Jews.
103 The author can only beg the reader's indulgence for the
introduction here, at the end of the last chapter, of a complex topic that
cannot be completely resolved in these pages. This material will be explored
more fully in my forthcoming book on the Amiens sculpture and its relation
to exegetical literature, sermons and liturgical practices. Jean d'Abbeville,
dean of the chapter of Amiens Cathedral is dealt with fleetingly in a number
of secondary works, but there has never, to the best of my knowledge, been
a systematic study. See especially H. M. Feret, La facult de thologie
et ses docteurs les plus clbres: moyen ge et poque
moderne, Paris, 1896, 228-231; P. Glorieux, Rpertoire des matres
de thologie de Paris, I, Paris, 1933, 272-273; Histoire littraire
de la France, XVIII, Paris, 1835, 162-166; A. Lecoy de la Marche, La
chaire, 60-64; J. Longre, La prdication mdivale,
90; W. Newman, "Le personnel," 34; J. Ribaillier, in Dictionnaire
de Spiritualit, VIII, Paris, 1974, 249-255; B. Smalley, The
Study of the Bible, 265 and 317; J. B. Schneyer, Repertorium der
lateinischen sermones des Mittelalters fr die Zeit von 1150-1350,
9 vols., Mnster, 1969-1980, esp. III, 510-566. reprint. Stuttgart,
1986, col. 916; P. Cole, The Preaching of the Crusades to the Holy Land,
1095-1270, Medieval Academy of America, 98, Cambridge, MA, 1992, 150-156.
The intellectual climate that lies behind Jean D'Abbeville's ideas is explored
by J. Baldwin, Masters, Princes and Merchants.
104 Histoire littraire de la France, XVIII,
165. Proust wanted a statue of Ruskin placed in front of the portal; more
appropriate, however, might be a column figure of the dean in the
105 A conclusion already reached by G. Durand and M. Rickard.
106 Henri de Gand's wrote of d'Abbeville, "scripsit
sermones tam de dominicis quam de festivitatibus; lectiones evangelicas
et apostolicas breviter exposuit, post haec apponens sermones valde prolixos,
tot inductis scripturarum sanctarum testimoniis, quod vix possint memoriae
commendari." see Feret, La facult, 231. For Henri de Gand
(d. 1293) see Histoire littraire, XX, Paris, 1842, Kraus reprint,
107 The Chronicle of Alberic of Trois Fontaines mentions,
"magister Iohannes de Abbatisvilla, vir honestis moribus preditus et
ad predicandum optimus theologus, Ambianensis decanus...." see Monumenta
Germaniciae Scriptorum, XXIII, Hannover, 1874. The transcript of the
Sermones de tempore of Jean d'Abbeville, Bibl. nat. lat. 2516a, lists
the Parisian churches where the sermons were preached, including Saint-Gervais,
Saint-Victor, Saint-Anthoine (many times), Saint-Jacques and Saint-Germain-des-Prs.
Although the sermons were transcribed in Latin several of them are said
to have been delivered in French.
108 Bibl. nat. lat. 2516a, 1ro, "non sermone[m] exactum
v[e]l subtilem prurientib[us] scolariu[m] auribus p[ro]mittentes s[ed] q[uas]i
rudes [h]omelia[s] rudib[us] rudi p[ro]ponendas...." Can we recognize
some of these "rudes" amongst the column figures of the south
transept portal and in the portal of Saint Firmin? With their simple, sometimes
jolly, faces and rough carving, these figures have generally shocked the
sophisticated eye and refined sensibilities of the modern art historian.
109 J. Ribaillier, "Jean d'Abbeville, 253," where
the author offers an assessment of d'Abbeville's contribution that is very
different from Henri de Gand's. D'Abbeville's ideas may be related to those
of Peter the Chanter and Stephen Langton. It is intriguing to find sermons
by Langton and d'Abbeville side-by-side in Magdalene College MS 168, see
P. B. Roberts, Studies in the Sermons of Stephen Langton; F. M. Powicke,
Stephen Langton, Oxford, 1928, 170. B. Smalley, The Study of the
Bible, 265 also associates d'Abbeville with Langton. The same author
(253-254) quotes lines from a Langton sermon that express sentiments very
much like those of d'Abbeville, "...a preacher should not always use
polished, subtle preaching, like Aod's sword, but sometimes a ploughshare,
that is, rude, rustic exhortation." Langton wrote commentaries on the
minor prophets that may provide a background for the emphasis upon the prophets
at Amiens. The emphasis of the priority of sacerdotium over regnum
in the south portal of the west faade of Amiens may be understood
partly in terms of the subsequent career of Langton: his role in Magna Carta
and as archbishop of Canterbury.
110 Histoire littraire, XVIII, 169. See also
the sermons of Jean d'Abbeville, Bibl. nat. lat. 2516a where inside the
initial "C" ("Cum sacrosancta mater ecclesia, premontrante
sancto spiritu....etc.") is an image of a preacher who lifts his eyes
towards a hand extended from heaven, while his own outstretched hands express
his words to a seated audience, the foremost member of which holds an open
book. In this way are linked the written word (scriptores), the spoken
word and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
111 Bibl. nat. lat 12971, Expositio Johanni [de Abbatisvilla]
episcopi Sabiensis super Cantica Canticorum, 43ro. "More prophetie
procedit hoc canticum, nam subito mutat personas et subito mutat tempora."
112 Ibid, 41 vo., where d'Abbeville explains the role of
the four personae in the Song: Christ, his mother, the angels and the adolescentulae
who participate in the narrative.
113 Ibid, 61 ro., "Anima mea liquefacta est ut dilectus
locutus est. Ac si dicat: postquam dilectus meus locutus est mihi per angelum,
anima mea incaluit et liquefacta est, ut sicut metallum calore liquefactum
formam acciperet quam vellet artifex spiritus sanctus." The metaphor
of liquification is also used by d'Abbeville in a crusading sermon transcribed
by P.Cole, The Preaching of the Crusades, 222-226, esp. 224, "Et
ita anima mea pre dolore, scilicet, ad mentis similitudinem cere que liquescit
ad ignem, sic et deceret ut nos non solum memores sed memoria memores essemus,
memorantes non solum hystoriam sed allegoriam....."