Project 2: Bay 140 windows

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In March 2013, American Friends of Chartres announced their second funding project at the Cathedral Notre Dame de Chartres, the restoration of the stained glass windows in Bay 140. This is the second bay from the west on the south side of the nave clerestory and features the Alpha and Omega Rose Window and the lancets of Saint Peter and Saint James the Major.

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The rose window (approximately four meters in diameter) shows Christ enthroned between Alpha and Omega and two angels. In his right hand, Christ holds an orb; with his left, he makes a gesture of blessing. On either side of the head of Christ are the letters Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. This image gives visual life to His declaration “I am the Beginning and the End.”

Alpha and Omega Rose Window

Alpha and Omega Rose Window (Photograph by Painton Cowen)

The Saint Peter lancet (7.35 meters by 1.9 meters) shows the apostle barefooted and tonsured, with an inscription reading S. PETRVS. He holds a book in one hand and the traditional keys in the other. Though he holds the keys in his bare hand, he holds the book in his cloak- a practice reserved for holding sacred objects. The guild of bakers donated the window. Below Saint Peter, a baker sells a loaf of bread to a man.

Lancet windows of Saint Peter and Saint James

Lancet windows of Saint Peter and Saint James (Photograph by Painton Cowen)

The Saint James lancet features a large standing figure of the saint, bearded and haloed, and the inscription S. IACOBVS. He wears a garment covered with his emblematic cockle-shells and holds a pilgrim’s staff in one hand. The theme of bakers as donors is continued in the bottom part of this window: two men carry a basket of bread; flames come out a small oven: and a worker cuts dough with a knife to make loaves.

American Friends of Chartres is proud to be associated with the important work of restoring these great windows, created between 1205 and 1215. This restoration will take three years and is scheduled to be completed sometime in 2016. You may be interested in helping American Friends of Chartres with this restoration project. If so, please choose to donate on this site or contact us at friendsofchartres@yahoo.com.

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