ARCHITECT, Spanish
(active c. 1255 in León)

Interior view

begun c. 1255
Photo
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 extreme delicacy of the interior and the large tracery windows, shown in the picture, must go back to Saint-Denis, although the elegance of the execution suggests that the Sainte-Chapelle may have served as the model.

View the ground plan of León Cathedral.




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