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Rayonnant style

Rayonnant style (rā´ənănt), the middle period (c.1240–1350) of French Gothic architecture, so termed from the characteristic radiating tracery of the rose window. In this period many of the great cathedrals were under construction; the builders became bolder and more proficient, emphasizing in every way the vertical elements of the structure. Light and soaring structural skeletons were erected, reducing the size of all supporting members; the enlargement of windows resulted in a drastic reduction of wall surfaces. Bar tracery, displaying elaborate geometrical patterns, supplanted plate tracery. Sculptural ornament turned to greater naturalism and was used more generously. Of this period are the cathedral at Amiens (begun 1220), the Sainte-Chapelle at Paris (1243–46), and the earlier portions of St. Ouen at Rouen (begun 1318). The Rayonnant style spread to other parts of Europe. The scheme was employed in the cathedrals at Cologne, Germany (begun 1248), and Leon, Spain (begun c.1255).

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Rayonnant

Rayonnant. Style of Gothic prevalent in France from c.1227 to the mid-C14. Its first phase is called the Court style, from its association with the reign of Louis IX (1227–70), of which the rebuilt Abbey of St-Denis, Troyes Cathedral, and the Chapel at St-Germain-en-Laye are good examples (all 1230s). The Rayonnant style takes its name from the shapes formed by tracery-bars and from the vault-ribs radiating from piers shaped with masses of shafts corresponding to the ribs.

Bibliography

Branner (1965);
Kimpel & and Suckale (1985);
W. Papworth (1887);
Jane Turner (1996);
D. Watkin (1996)

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rayonnant

rayonnant relating to or denoting a French style of Gothic architecture prevalent from c.1230 to c.1350, characterized by distinctive rose windows. The word is French and means literally ‘radiating’, from the pattern of radiating lights in the windows.

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