“Voûte”, Cathedral of Strasbourg, vault of St Catherine’s chapel, 2013.

A distinguishing feature of the cathedral of Strasbourg, comparing to others Gothic cathedrals, is the lack of side chapels in the nave. Only two were built: the St-Laurent (originally St-Martin)’s chapel on the North side, and the St-Catherine’s chapel on the South.

The St-Catherine’s chapel was built between 1340 and 1347 by Meister Gerlach and was intended to house the tomb of the bishop Berthold II von Bucheck. It was showing originally an high stellar vault with hanging keystones, but this vault partly collapsed during a storm in 1542 and was, between this date and 1546, replaced by the vault you can see here, designed by Meister Bernard Nonnenmacher. This vault is a bit less high than the original one, which explains why the top of the windows is nearly concealed by the vault.

The stained glasses of the two West windows have been removed before the 18th century and stayed blank (like they’re on this photography) until 2015 where the two windows have received very kitsch stained glasses.

At the moment I’ve done this picture, I had in mind a previous one in the series: Élan. Before continuing, I’ve to precise that, at the contrary of what one could think, the chapel is not a square, but a rectangle partly cut in half by the pile of the flying buttress: it’s visible on the left side. On one hand it advantages me, as I wanted to use a square format. On the other hand it destabilised the composition, so I couldn’t use here the same idea as in Élan.

In the later, I included the pillars to give an ascending move, but the lack of symmetry make it impossible here. Besides, I didn’t want to do exactly the same composition, because this vault is more flat than the one of St-Thomas’ church, consequently I thought it was not relevant to try to give it an ascending move.

So finally I choose to hide the most possible of the pillars, showing only the vault itself. The result is very static image, in my opinion the total counterpart to the previously mentioned pictured. The opposition is shown as well by the difference in the processing of colours, which are here more bright and saturate, echoing the late Gothic architecture and its sophistication, while in Élan the colours were more dull, in reference to the strictness of the High Gothic.

Available as a print here!

Tools and exifs:

  • Canon EOS 50D + Canon 18-200mm
  • 18mm
  • 1/2 s.
  • f/7.1
  • ISO 100

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