MEDIEVAL SCULPTOR, French
(active 1252-1275 in Reims)
Central doorway of west portal1252-75
Cathedral, Reims (Marne)
As a masterpiece of French art, Reims Cathedral, the coronation church of the French kings, together with the cathedrals of Chartres and Amiens, is considered a classic cathedral of France. Its sculpture, too, which here extends to the interior of the west portal, is among the outstanding work of French High Gothic.
In the west portal, through which the king, once crowned, stepped outside, the three entrances are placed before the west wall, joined together as though to form a triumphal arch. Their tall tympana bear no sculpture, but instead rose windows and foils. The crowned Virgin and Child on the trumeau of the central portal is accompanied by jamb figures representing scenes of the birth and childhood of Christ: on the right the Annunciation and the Visitation, and on the left the Presentation in the Temple. These eight figures, executed at different times, are among the masterpieces of 13th-century French sculpture.