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The recomposed, much-altered, and partially dispersed vestiges of the original nave-aisle glazing of Rouen Cathedral--the so-called "Belles Verrières"--constitute one of the most important but least studied ensembles of early 13th-century French stained glass. This article will address two windows represented in the "Belles Verrières" as a means of exploring a working methodology for reconstructing the Rouen nave-aisle glazing. From a close analysis of all remaining fragments, the original design of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus and John the Evangelist windows will be reconstructed. Once assembled, each window will be evaluated in relation to stylistic, iconographic and historical contexts. The iconography of the Seven Sleepers, closely tied to the political history of Normandy at the turn of the 13th century, will allow that window to be dated with rare precision to the years between 1200-1202. The stylistic relationship between the John the Evangelist window and other glass at Rouen and Beauvais will argue for a date significantly later, in the 1240s. It thus appears that the glazing of the nave aisle at Rouen extended throughout the first half of the 13th century, rather than being restricted to the first two decades, as is usually assumed.


This work is freely available courtesy of the University of Chicago Press and the International Center of Medieval Art.