Who Is The Bishop In The Virgin Chapel Of Beauvais Cathedral?

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Gazette Des Beaux-Arts


There have been many attempts to identify the protagonist of the narrative window depicting the life of a bishop saint in the Virgin Chapel of Beauvais Cathedral in France. Incomplete preservation and confused presentation have been serious obstacles to the iconographic analysis of the window. The question of the window's subject can be approached in two ways. Firstly, traditional iconographic analysis leads to a new, if tentative, identification of the protagonist as Constantin, a little-known seventh-century bishop of Beauvais. A second approach is to consider the very feature of the window that has made its iconography so elusive: Its emphasis on generic scenes portraying the execution of ordinary diocesan activities rather than particularized events associated with the life of a specific individual. This emphasis may have been a deliberate feature of the window's narrative design.

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