(active 13th century in Cologne)

Exterior view

begun 1248
Cathedral, Cologne

The Cologne Cathedral was begun in 1248. By the end of the 13th century the choir had been built and one of the west towers begun. After that, for various reasons, work stopped and it remained a fragment for 500 years, while Gothic architecture sank lower and lower in esteem. But by the 1820s the Romantic movement had brought the Middle Ages back into favour, and for the first time there was the motivation to complete the building. By a happy chance the original drawings for the west front, of about 1300, survived and work started again in 1824. It was finally finished in 1880. Of what we see here, only the lowest story of the right-hand tower is old, the rest is a 19th-century cathedral that is yet authentically medieval.

Externally, particularly from a distance, the building is dominated by its huge spires, which are entirely Germanic in character, being openwork like those of Ulm, Vienna, Strasbourg and Regensburg Cathedrals. The outward thrust of the high vault is taken up by flying buttresses in the French manner.

View the ground plan of the Cathedral, Cologne.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.