Sainte – Chapelle is located on the natural island, known as Ile de la Cite in the River Seine. It is located in the city of Paris, in France. It is a royal chapel. It has been made in Gothic style. It was within the Palais de la Cite It was used to be the residing place of the Kings in France. The Kings resided till the 14th century. After 1238, the construction of the Chapelle started. The Chapelle was consecrated on 26th April, 1248. Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, mainly religious. The word means association with the sacred. The Sainte – Chapelle is considered as one of the highest achievements of the Rayonnant period of Gothic architecture. It was commissioned by King Louis Ⅸ of France. He used to house his collection of Passion relics. In Christianity, the Passion is the short final period in the life of Jesus. It begins with his triumphal entry into Jerusalem and ends with his crucifixion and his death on Good Friday. The collection consist of many things. Out of all the important relics in the medieval Christendom, the Crown of Thorns of Christ and the Image of Edessa were the vital ones. The Chapelle along with the Conciergerie is one of the earliest surviving buildings of the royal palace on the Ile de la Cite. it has one of the most extensive 13th century stained glass collections in the entire world. The Chapelle was in the courtyard of the royal palace on Ile de la Cite.
Sainte – Chapelle stands squarely upon a lower chapel. That lower chapel served as a parish church for all the inhabitants of the palace. From the courtyard of the Royal Palace the grand ceremonial staircase can be seen in the right. To the left is the north flank and eastern apse of the Sainte – Chapelle. The exterior of chapel has many characteristics of the Rayonnant architecture. It has deep buttresses surmounted by pinnacles, crocketted gables around the roof – line and vast windows subdivided by bar tracery. The internal division into upper and lower chapels is clearly marked on the outside by a string – course. The lower walls pierced by small windows with a spherical triangle shape. The exterior is comparatively simple and austere. The exterior does not have flying buttresses or major sculpture. Architectural precursors of the Sainte – Chapelle include the apsidal chapels of Amiens Cathedral , which it resembles in its general form. And the Bishop’s Chapel of Noyon Cathedral, from which it borrowed the two – story design. This Parisian palatine chapel, was built to house a reliquary. It was itself a precious reliquary turned inside out. The interior has decorations by the stained glass. The wall surface and the vault was highly decorated and richly coloured. The quatrefoils of the dado arcade were painted with scenes of martyrs and saints, and had painted and gilded glass, emulating Limoges enamels. The hanging rich textiles added to the richness of the interior. Above the dado level, there are stone figures. These 12 larger than – life – size sculpted stone figures. They are mounted on the clustered shafts that separate the great windows. These represents the 12 Apostles. Each carries a disk marked with the consecration crosses. They were traditionally marked on the pillar of a church at its consecration. Niches on the north and south sides of the chapel are the private oratories of the king and his mother. His mother was Blanche of Castile. Sainte – Chapelle is famous for its stained – glass windows. The fifteen huge windows fill the nave and apse. A large rose window dominates the western wall. It has flamboyant tracery. It is a florid style of late Gothic architecture in France. There are some damage in the display of the windows, still it displays a clear iconographical pictures. In the eastern apse, there are three windows. Those illustrate the New Testament. It features scenes in the central that of the Passion. In the left is the scenes of the Infancy of Christ. In the right, the scenes shows the life of John the Evangelist. The windows of the nave are dominated by Old Testaments of ideal kingship and queenship to their royal patrons. The cycle starts at the western bay of the north wall with scenes from the book of Genesis. The next ten windows of the nave follow clockwise with scenes. There are scenes from Exodus, Joseph, Leviticus, Joshua and Judges. In the south wall there are scenes from Tobias, Judith, Esther, David and the Books of Kings. The last window is in the westernmost bay of the south wall. It contains the narrative of sacral kingship. It contains series of scenes depicting the rediscovery of the relics of the Christ, the miracles they performed and their relocation to Paris in the hands of king Louis. During the French Revolution, the Sainte – Chapelle was damaged a lot. It had to be recreated. The steeple and baldachin were removed. The relics were dispersed. Some relics of Sainte – Chapelle were kept in the treasury of Notre Dame de Paris. Many reliquaries were melted down. One of it was grande chasse. Sainte – Chapelle was restored twice. Once in 19th century and again in 21st century. In 1803, two meters of glass was removed, to facilitate working light. In 1855, under the direction of Felix Duban, Sainte – Chapelle was well restored. It was done faithfully to the original drawings and descriptions of the chapel that survived. Sainte – Chapelle was damaged due to air pollution and huge number of visitors who damaged the stained glass of the windows. In 1945, a layer of external varnish had been applied to protect the glass from the dust and scratches of bombing during the war time. This made the glasses dark, which made the fading images hard to see. In 2008, a comprehensive seven – year programme of restoration had began. It incurred huge expenditure in millions. It was done to clean and preserve all the stained glass, clean the façade stonework and conserve and repair some of the sculptures.
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