Chartres Cathedral, south of Paris, is revered as one of the
most beautiful and profound works of art in the Western canon. But
what did it mean to those who constructed it in the twelfth and
thirteenth centuries--and why was it built at such immense height
and with such glorious play of light, in the soaring manner we now
In this eminently fascinating work, author Philip Ball makes
sense of the visual and emotional power of Chartres and brilliantly
explores how its construction--and the creation of other Gothic
cathedrals--represented a profound and dramatic shift in the way
medieval thinkers perceived their relationship with their world.
Beautifully illustrated and written, filled with astonishing
insight, Universe of Stone embeds the magnificent cathedral in the
culture of the twelfth century--its schools of philosophy and
science, its trades and technologies, its politics and religious
debates--enabling us to view this ancient architectural marvel with
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