September 14, 2007

Hypertexting the Gothic Cathedral

In searching for info on the Bourges "Jaws of Hell" photo I posted about the other day, I came upon this 'Last Judgement Window' web page by travel photographer Stuart Whatling. It's part of an ambitious work-in-progress cataloging the Bourges Cathedral Ambulatory windows in a uniquely hypertext-oriented navigational method.

Two screenshots from the site - First, the Last Judgement Window page. You can 'read' the story in brief as text, then click to see the detailed picture. I've highlighted the areas where you would click to go to the 'Hell-mouth' section.

This then links to the detail of the 'Jaws of Hell' section

He got his idea from Alison Stone's Chartres site, hosted by the University of Pittsburgh. I linked to the Alison Stones site a while back when I did a post about Gothic Cathedral windows as comic strips. Her site remains the more comprehensive and detailed, but Stuart's is very impressive, especially considering he didn't have an academic institution backing him up. On top of that, I think his photographs are of a higher quality in general.

I only wish this kind of site could be created for all the great Gothic Cathedrals. The potential for comparison, especially in terms of narrative interpretation, is mind boggling. Just look at the Last Judgement Rose window at Chartres as compared to the Last Judgement window at Bourges ... or the Chartres Good Samaritan window compared to the Bourges Good Samaritan window.

Posted by Tom at September 14, 2007 11:22 AM