The Cathedral Series

The Cathedral Series
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24 episodes in this series

Episode 1 What Is a Cathedral?
Start your tour of great Gothic cathedrals with this introductory lecture. Discover the important role these buildings play in both spirituality and society, and learn how their origins lie in…
Episode 2 Early Christian Architecture
Go back to the 4th century A.D, when Christians first began to erect large buildings for public worship. Taking you to the dawn of the 11th century, Professor Cook leads…
Episode 3 Romanesque—A New Monumental Style
By 1100, many churches in western Europe were built using a range of local styles, all of which in some manner hearkened back to classical Roman forms. Here, explore the…
Episode 4 Vaulting—A Look at Roofs
What's the best way to build a church's ceiling? This episode takes you through the evolution of church roofs--from flat wood ceilings to stone barrel vaults to magnificent ribbed vaulting.…
Episode 5 Romanesque at Its Best
Sainte Foy in Conques. Saint Mary Magdalene in Vezelay. Saint-Lazare at Autun. Focus on these three French churches as definitive examples of Romanesque style and decoration. In particular, investigate how…
Episode 6 Saint-Denis and the Beginning of Gothic Style
Scholars agree that the first Gothic building in history is the Abbey Church of Saint-Denis, located outside of Paris. After learning about this building's role in French history, tour the…
Episode 7 The Urban Context of Cathedrals
Place the power of cathedrals in a more urban context as you explore the factors that led to the widespread reemergence of cities as the religious centers of Europe. Then,…
Episode 8 Notre Dame in Paris
With its famous facade and its iconic status as one of the world's foremost cathedrals, Notre Dame has been remodeled more often than any other cathedral (most notably after the…
Episode 9 Early Gothic Style: Laon
Located in a much smaller town, the Cathedral of Laon is a quite different Gothic experiment than Notre Dame--but just as fascinating. Learn what's so unusual about the style, substance,…
Episode 10 Chartres: The Building
Notre Dame de Chartres is perhaps the most influential Gothic cathedral--so influential that Professor Cook devotes three episodes to exploring it. In the first, focus on the building itself, including…
Episode 11 Chartres: The Sculpture
Continue your virtual tour of Notre Dame de Chartres with a closer look at the cathedral's three porches, whose sculpted portals contain the largest collection of statuary of any Gothic…
Episode 12 Chartres: The Windows
Professor Cook concludes his in-depth look at Chartres with a handsomely illustrated episode on its famous stained glass windows, as well as a description of how these brilliant works of…
Episode 13 Amiens: The Limits of Height
Enormous. Soaring. Awe-inspiring. Find out why the Cathedral of Amiens--Professor Cook's favorite cathedral--deserves these and other titles by surveying the structure of the building and its dizzying heights. It's a…
Episode 14 Amiens: The Facade
The front of the Cathedral of Amiens is the single greatest sculptural display in all of Gothic decoration. Here, make sense of the complexities and details of the cathedral's facade…
Episode 15 Reims: The Royal Cathedral
Another of France's most beautiful: and important: cathedrals is located in the city of Reims. Survey the building's long and dramatic history, from the time of Joan of Arc to…
Episode 16 Cathedrals: Who Builds? Who Pays? How Long?
You've witnessed the majesty of some of Europe's great cathedrals. But how on earth were they actually built? This episodes eparates myth from reality, using models, illuminated manuscripts, stained glass…
Episode 17 New Developments in Gothic France
Using the abbey of Saint: Denis; the cathedrals at Bourges, Troyes, and Beauvais; and the chapel of Saint Chapelle as case studies, examine the progression in the Gothic style that…
Episode 18 Late Gothic Churches in France
Witness the evolution of Gothic architecture in the 14th, 15th, and early 16th centuries. Looking closely at a series of French cathedrals, abbeys, and churches, you'll find powerful examples of…
Episode 19 Early Gothic Architecture in England
Cross the English Channel into England, where you tour four classic examples of the country's Gothic style: the cathedrals at Canterbury, Salisbury, Wells, and Lincoln. In addition, investigate the major…
Episode 20 Decorated and Perpendicular English Gothic
Continue your virtual travels through England, this time paying particular attention to specific cathedrals, abbeys, and chapels that feature developments unique to the English Gothic style. Highlights of this episode…
Episode 21 Gothic Churches in the Holy Roman Empire
Venture into the former territory of the Holy Roman Empire in this highlight of the most famous Gothic cathedrals from this part of Europe. Here, study the Gothic cathedrals of…
Episode 22 Gothic Churches in Italy
While the term Gothic is rarely used in an Italian context, Professor Cook pinpoints both traditional and unique Gothic elements present in the cathedrals of Siena and Orvieto, as well…
Episode 23 Gothic Styles in Iberia and the New World
Turn west to the Gothic cathedrals of Spain, many of which exhibit a unique mixture of Roman, Muslim, French, and German influences. Then, go across the ocean to see how…
Episode 24 Gothic Architecture in Today's World
With the spread of Renaissance ideas and styles, Gothic architecture eventually subsided, only to experience a vibrant revival in the 19th and 20th centuries. In this concluding episode, sample neo-Gothic…

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