(active c. 1255 in León)

Exterior view

begun c. 1255
Cathedral, León

Gothic cathedrals after models of the modern French episcopal churches were constructed in Spain after the 1220s. The Cathedral of León, begun about 1255, represents a further step in the Iberian appropriation of French Gothic after the cathedrals of Burgos and Toledo. In this case royal buildings of France were adopted as models (Cathedral of Reims, Saint-Denis, and even the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris). León Cathedral thus united elements that in France were divided among several buildings important to the monarch. This claim could be displayed only formally because the Cathedral of León was not a royal coronation church, the tomb of a particularly important national saint, or the home of a politically important relic.

The layout of the west and transept façades, with their towers standing freely at the side next to the central aisles, seen in the picture, follows the model of the transept façades of the royal tomb of Saint-Denis.

View the ground plan of León Cathedral.

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