Tuesday 24 November 2009

West Facade- Exeter Cathedral

(Click to enlarge)The ranging of figural sculpture across the west front seems to be a peculiarly English feature- as seen, for instance at Wells, Salisbury and, here, at Exeter. The effect is not unlike the idea of a reredos "writ large" and contrasts with the characteristic French tendency of having figures predominantly arranged in "funnel-like" groupings around the doors- a feature to which Pope Benedict drew attention in his recent discourse on Romanesque and Gothic art.
It is difficult to gauge the extent to which such figures constitute survivals. The quality of the stone, particularly with weathering, sometimes makes 19th century work appear far older. Nevertheless one gains some sort of impression of the original impact of the whole facade.

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