Die Baumeisterfamilie Deschamps, Papst Klemens V. und der letzte Schrei aus Paris. Bemerkungen zur Porte des Flèches der Kathedrale von Bordeaux

Abstract : The portal of the northern arm of the transept of Bordeaux Cathedral, commonly referred to as the “porte des Flèches” (the Door of Arrows), is one of the major representatives of monumental sculpture from the first half of the fourteenth century in France. Unlike most other portals of the period, which are often badly dilapidated, the Bordeaux work is in an excellent state of conservation. The article first examines the architecture of the porch and ascertains the models that inspired it. Then comes a deliberately brief study of the subjects represented by the sculpture. Using detailed formal comparisons, the article then sets about locating the stylistic sources and narrowing down the dates of the Bordeaux works. The final part attempts to better identify the architect and commissioners of the portal. It identifies in particular the probable roles of the master architect Bertrand Deschamps, of the archbishop of Bordeaux Arnaud de Canteloup and of his uncle, Pope Clement V. Examination of the architecture of the porte des Flèches reveals that its commissioners chose as their models the transept portals of Paris and Rouen cathedrals. These works are among the most elegant and most lavish of the artistic output of northern France produced for the kingdom’s leading two religious establishments. The iconographic programme of the gateway is designed first to exalt the role of the secular clergy in general and that of the Bordeaux church in particular. It is built around the statue of a pope standing on the trumeau – an allusion to the election of the archbishop of Bordeaux to the papacy in 1305 – and statues of six bishops in the niches. These are a reference to the prelates in charge of the six dioceses of Aquitania Secunda, presided over by the archbishop of Bordeaux. These seven members of the high clergy are associated, by way of the representations on the tympanum, with the apostles and their role as part of the work of Redemption. At the Last Supper and the Ascension, Christ founded the Church and then conferred on the apostles the continuation of his mission – in particular the evangelization of all nations. By the concept of apostolic succession, then, the pope and bishops of the lower part of the portal appear as the legitimate successors to the apostles whose mission they pursued in their own day. The article then examines the formal and aesthetic conventions adopted by the sculptors of the porte des Flèches. It turns out that these are not to be found in other sculpted ensembles of southwestern France, whereas they display close parallels with some of the most refined Parisian works of the early fourteenth century. Of note are the low reliefs of the ancient cloister of Notre-Dame de Paris and the Book of Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux by the illuminator Jean Pucelle. These comparisons combined with other resemblances mean the Bordeaux portal can be situated at around 1325. The better supported and more precise dating of the porch mean the main actors involved in the construction can be identified. First comes to mind the part played by Pope Clement V (1305–1314), the former archbishop of Bordeaux (1299–1305). He made substantial financial resources available for the cathedral project. This financial ease during the first third of the fourteenth century meant that a series of lavish projects was conducted in Bordeaux with the porte des Flèches as the apogee. Although Clement V provided the financial conditions for this type of particularly sumptuous work, he was probably not personally involved in the commissioning of the portal. The date of his death (1314) is some years earlier than the building of the porte des Flèches. A series of clues suggests that the pope’s nephew, Arnaud de Canteloup, was the leading instigator of the project. Arnaud was archbishop of Bordeaux between 1305 and 1332, and it was during this period that the cathedral was endowed with rich and elegant works closely associated with the artistic production of Paris. The dating of the porte des Flèches around 1325 then prompts questions about the potential involvement of Bertrand Deschamps, mentioned in 1320 as the master of works of the cathedral. We now know that the Bordeaux worksite was directed by two members of this famous family of architects, Jean (mentioned in 1309) and Bertrand. The two master masons probably succeeded one another directly in managing the project. The coincidence between the period when the Deschamps directed the site (1305–1320 at least) and the period during which work done in Bordeaux was strongly influenced by the artistic output of Paris suggests they were the designers of these works marked by Parisian and more broadly northern aesthetics. At the end of this survey our image of the Deschamps as creators of a specifically southern French Gothic architecture is considerably modified.
Type de document :
Chapitre d'ouvrage
T. Kunz; M. Grandmontagne Skulptur um 1300 zwischen Paris und Köln (actes du colloque international), pp.208-231, 2016
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Contributeur : Sonia Syllac <>
Soumis le : lundi 12 mars 2018 - 12:08:28
Dernière modification le : vendredi 18 mai 2018 - 16:40:02


  • HAL Id : halshs-01729041, version 1



Markus Schlicht. Die Baumeisterfamilie Deschamps, Papst Klemens V. und der letzte Schrei aus Paris. Bemerkungen zur Porte des Flèches der Kathedrale von Bordeaux. T. Kunz; M. Grandmontagne Skulptur um 1300 zwischen Paris und Köln (actes du colloque international), pp.208-231, 2016. 〈halshs-01729041〉



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