Chartres - 4

Chartres - 4


Mieke Mosmuller

05-06-2019 6 comments Print!

In the Middle Ages the School of Chartres flourished, where great religious scholars lived with the Platonic and Pythagorean idea that the mediation between God and the world lies in mathematics, especially in the principles of geometry, but these are also determined by the concept of 'size', which is an arithmetic concept that extends into geometry. These scholars saw God as the Great Geometer, who created the All according to these principles - as we can also find in the Platonic Dialogue Timaeus. This lived on until the Middle Ages and these teachers of Chartres have more or less proved that the mathematical principles are not the principles of ‘castles of air’, but that one could build a cathedral with them. It is well-established that Chartres' cathedral is 'frozen music', because it is entirely conceived according to the musical intervals, with a ground plan of a pentagon, from which the golden section was taken as a measure by which the entire cathedral was then worked out - and finally actually built, which proved that these principles are firm up to the use of stone!

They were looking for the transition from the proportions of the human body to the proportions in the cathedral, through which they also hoped to reach an agreement and insightinto the proportions of creation as a whole.

There are sketches of a man named Villard de Honnecourt from that time, in which he indicates the following proportions for the Cistercian cathedral of Chartres:

  • The length of the cathedral's nave is 2:3 in relation to the transept, which is musically a fifth.
  • The ratio of 1:2, the octave, lies between the aisles and the nave. We also find this ratio between the length and width of the transept on the one hand and the height inside the cathedral on the other hand.
  • The nave stands up to the choir as 4:3, which is a musical fourth.
  • The aisles in their totality stand up to the nave in the position of 5:4, which is a third.
  • The intersection, the liturgical and aesthetic centre of the church, rests on the ratio 1:1, which is unisono, the most perfect harmony.
This would really be worth a meditation, thinking of "righteousness" as the working of Pythagoras' theorem. In these proportions in space, a much more powerful righteousness becomes tangible, because it appears that one can build with musical intervals!

(Quote from: Mieke Mosmuller, Het geheim van het getal, Occident 2019)

Mieke MosmullerChartres - 4 by Mieke Mosmuller

Give your comment please

  • From Liesbeth v Vondelen @
    Indrukwekkend! Wij zijn vandaag in de San Miniato al Monte in Florence geweest. Romaans, veel marmer en zo op het oog ook vol prachtige verhoudingen. Wat een kunstwerk, uithoudingsvermogen om het in eeuwen te bouwen, en wijsheid om het te denken.
  • From Wilbert Lambrechts @
    Cisterciënzer kathedraal? Hoezo?
    • From Mieke Mosmuller @
      Ontleend aan vooral: Rudolf Steiner, 5e karmaband; Otto von Simson, Die gothische Kathedrale, Beiträge zu ihrer Entstehung und Bedeutung.
  • From Mieke Mosmuller @
    Ontleend aan vooral: Rudolf Steiner, 5e karmaband; Otto von Simson, Die gothische Kathedrale, Beiträge zu ihrer Entstehung und Bedeutung.
  • From Sebastian Tombs @
    Hi Mieke, I am not sure what you mean by 'ship' in bullet points 3 and 4? (A useful book in English on this subject is by Gordon Strachan, published by Floris Books).
    • From Mieke Mosmuller @
      Hi Sebastian! That is a ‘slip of the translation’, in Durch we call schip what is nave in English I think. I will correct it, thank you!