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SAINTE-CHAPPELLE INSPIRES SAINTE-CHAPPEAU…

There is a small architectural confection nestled deep inside a courtyard of the Conciergerie , a medieval palace in Paris, which I found to be even more incredible to on my second visit when we were there in March. [See my posting of March 17th…] This small royal chapel is justly famous for its magnificent stained glass windows. Here is a link to a site which allows you to traverse the entire surround of those intensely colored stories.

My own photos are less fabulous than I might wish… the light was low & I had no tripod… nor would one be allowed in a space which is always crowded with some controlled number of bodies. One is, however, allowed to stay as long as the experience holds… so we lingered several hours to watch the light deepen during a winter’s short afternoon. I was disappointed, however, to see the chandelier lamps turn on at what seemed too early a schedule. I realize most would not appreciate the loss in public safety suggested in my desire to watch the colors fade into meditations on dusk. They are lovely chandeliers…

Thus, then, came an unexpected revelation from the designers of this space… there are secondary decorations… mosaics made with glass tiles, along with ample gilding, along the lower walls to reflect such interior light. Even as the glories looming above lose the light of day, the interior dark of evening gleams & glitters without losing a trick!

But, first, here are the windows as seen in my camera.

The painted & gilded decoration are sumptuous

Notice the niches of the statures in it in the next photographs… there is inspiration for a bell in the “temples” above their heads, carved as the wax which which I will share below…

But first, here is the lower chapel, for the commoners, below the lofty space with the windows you’ve seen above… the heavier structural vaulting of what is the foundation for the upper chapel precludes generous leaded glass lighting, so gilding becomes the stronger tool to dance in low light…

My appreciative study of the mechanique to support those immense panels of leaded glass, was attended first from the interior aided by the binoculars I carry to bring such lofty details to my myopic eyes. These shots Stephen made for me, because I’d exhausted my camera battery, help explain the iron strutwork into which those glass panels are held by the wires & clips I’d observed inside. Stone columns, supporting ironwork framing suspending glass cradled by strips of lead… all masterminded during what we used to call “the dark ages”!

To bring the immensity of SainteChappelle down into the scale of a thimble-sized bell I chose to use one of those “temples” I mentioned earlier… which seemed useful as distillations of this architectural extravagance.

Never to approach more than a suggestion of such complexities mixing all those architectural materials… this bell anticipates, however, ringing its own stories…

This is the wax near completion…

Because the major stint of work on this wax was done over Easter I have dubbed it affectionatly the SAINTE -CHAPPEAU Bell… what are those temples but saint’s easter bonnets !?!