Comparing Of The Parthenon And Reims Cathedral

The two outstanding monuments that have had significant impacts in the art and architectural history of humans are the Parthenon from Athens, Greece and Reims Cathedral located in Amiens, France. The architectural design, function and sculptural program situated inside each of these great monuments were created by the many respected artists and sculptors of each time period to honor a person or an event, or which has become suitable to a social group as a part of their memorial of historic times or cultural legacy.

The Parthenon is one of the oldest remaining masterpieces of old Greek architecture. Devoted to the goddess Athena. Parthenon has served as a treasury of the Delian League that later became the Athenian Empire as well as being a morgue and now it is a museum. This monument has been attempted to be torn down many times over wars by explosions and fire, but the building is still standing to this day. The Parthenon demonstrates the classic Greek arches and while not much of the building is preserved from the past wars, you can realize it must have been a noble architectural art piece. The engineered layout of the Parthenon was a representation of excellent proportions. The architect Iktinos computed each and every single component of the Parthenon mathematically precise. The proportion of length, width, columns count and the columns relationship with each other was considered and built to a mathematical formula and the Parthenon was built and was labeled the impeccable temple. The Parthenon layout is a rectangular shaped building with a one row of columns on each side of it. The columns are Doric, the simplicity of the columns are the true representation of ancient Greek columns. Eight columns placed at each end of the temple along with 17 down the greater sides. The idea of an impeccable temple came from Pythagoras in which he believed harmonic numerical ratios were equivalent to beauty. Comparing this design to The dazzling Gothic architecture, Amiens Cathedral was constructed in the 13th century, within 1200 to 1270. The architects showcased the idea of Nave. Amiens Cathedral was built in France,and it was one of the most authoritative buildings in the history of architecture, and was created to have the proportions slender. The lancet glass work windows in both its clerestory and triforium are larger than the many High Gothic churches created before. The Amiens was constructed to have rectangular bay systems, a four segment rib vault and an external buttressing arrangement. The idea of self-sustaining skeletal design had been taken to the full maturity when the Amiens was completed. The Amiens and Parthenon had very different views and ways of constructing them, especially the material used. It could be seen the amount of indubitable depth, concentration , detail and their extreme importance to the people of thor time was dedicated into creating these two great monuments and their sculptural program.

The sculptural program of the Parthenon was very sumptuous because the Greeks had defeated the Persians and in order to celebrate, statues were placed in the Parthenon. One of the Purely Innovative features of the sculptural program of the Parthenon is the formation of endless relief characterizing a central event in Athenian society, religious activity and The Greek fighters battling centaurs. The most prestigious of all the sculptures located at the Parthenon is the statue of Athena (Figure 1),The sculpture was formed of gold and ivory and stood about 38 feet (12 metres) high and Athena is depicted with the winged personification of Victory. On the other hand, situated at the Amiens Cathedral is the statue of Beau Dieu (Figure 2) which is on the central doorway’s trumeau dividing it to Notre-Dame of Amiens. Beau Dieu is characterized with a facial Beard and good-hearted Gothic image of Christ’s figure, and his body is enveloped with drapery folds standing with one foot on a dragon and the other on a lion, and the Scriptures positioned in his left hand while blessing with the right hand. Christ is also placed with an architectural canopy over his head which is a representation of the Last Judgment in the tympanum over his head. The image of Christ makes a dazzling focal point to the whole west front as the building is approached. Well higher than the pilgrim’s head, his sculpture is framed by the ascending arches and gables, which lines directed the eye up over the gallery of kings to the towers and the heavens. Christ also gives humans a hope in salvation. Both of these sculptural programs of Parthenon and Amiens Cathedral display the strong religious beliefs of the society.

The overall function of the Parthenon was to display how brilliantly the Greeks had mastered geometric principles and adopted it into their architecture. They saw mathematics as a means to understand the Divine. The Greeks were able to develop their own artistic identity that would have a stamp on the history of art. The function of the Parthenon was also a celebration for the Athenian people who had defeated the Persians a generation earlier. The function of the Amiens Cathedral was to push the limits of height in a church and construct tall naves. These functions that were adopted into the Amiens Cathedral were functionalities used in future Churches and Cathedrals. Also, the function of light in the clerestory plays a defining role in the Amiens. Even Though one of the main functions of the both monuments are representations of their people's beliefs, the overall functions of each monument is very different due to the different ways the Parthenon and Amiens was constructed. The Parthenon was more of a mathematical structure created to display the size of how a structure should be created in opposition to The Amiens functions were dedicated to pure detail in the vaults, strength and lightness of the structure.

These two structures are very expected to have their own distinctions in design and function due to the periods they were created. What makes them similar is the dedication and care that the architect and society devoted to creating these great monuments based on the belief of that era to immortalize their art piece in history, and Parthenon and Amiens Cathedral will always have a significant role in art history due to their architectural design, sculptural program and function.

07 July 2022
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