New Studies of the North Transept of Reims II: Sculpture

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The design and building chronology of the north transept façade of Reims Cathedral continues to be one of the knottiest problems in this building’s history. Even to a casual viewer, the lack of uniformity is apparent and suggests that numerous changes were made in the course of its construction. This raises questions about the function of the portals and the reception of their sculptures that are further complicated by the fact that a cloister originally encumbered the façade, preventing the viewing of its three portals and their sculptures as a whole. Scholars since the time of Hans Kunze (1912) have debated whether or not some of the sculptures were originally intended for an abandoned plan for the west façade. While current opinion has tilted in favor of the north transept as their originally planned location, no consensus has been achieved. This, the second of two sessions on the north transept, will include papers that address questions of construction chronology, iconography, and reception of the north transept sculptures.Jennifer M. Feltman