Essay

OPEN ACCESS

Rereading Authorship at Saint-Urbain, Troyes

Michalis Olympios

Published online:

22 Nov 2023

Abstract

Abstract

Since the 1950s, the papal collegiate church of Saint-Urbain at Troyes has been viewed as the product of two visually distinct building campaigns headed by different architects, the first exemplifying mid-thirteenth-century French Rayonnant architecture and the second embodying or presaging late medieval Flamboyant aesthetics. The present article challenges this narrative of linear progression by reexamining the architecture of the building’s little-studied west front and exploiting largely unpublished archival testimony. It attempts to demonstrate that matching specific sets of forms to (undocumented) individual architects is not as straightforward as hitherto thought, and that the choice of visual language was ultimately predicated as much on funding as on patronal intentions. In so doing, it updates the narrative of Saint-Urbain’s creation to comply with current scholarly conceptions about the material imprint of the artistic personalities of medieval architects.

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