Yale University

Age of Cathedrals

Taught in English

Some content may not be translated

35,735 already enrolled

Course

Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

Howard Bloch

Instructor: Howard Bloch

4.7

(459 reviews)

Beginner level
No prior experience required
18 hours to complete
3 weeks at 6 hours a week
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

Details to know

Shareable certificate

Add to your LinkedIn profile

Assessments

4 quizzes

See how employees at top companies are mastering in-demand skills

Placeholder
Placeholder

Earn a career certificate

Add this credential to your LinkedIn profile, resume, or CV

Share it on social media and in your performance review

Placeholder

There are 9 modules in this course

An introduction to the history of Paris in the centuries of chaos following the death of Charlemagne in 814 and the building of the first Gothic cathedral at Saint-Denis, just north of Paris. The old abbey church, where the kings of France were buried, was inadequate, and so a new building project was undertaken by Abbot Suger, who financed the new building through efficient land management and the commercial Fair of Lendit along a trade route between northern and southern Europe.

What's included

7 videos1 reading

Here we encounter the portrait of Abbot Suger via his account of how and why he built Saint-Denis, what is portrayed on the West façade of the cathedral, and how the doctrine of God as light, encountered in a book which had come from Byzantium to the abbey centuries earlier, was translated into architectural form. We see some of the objects that are part of the treasury of Saint-Denis and discuss the Abbot’s notion of “anagogical uplift” as a way of moving—via stained glass—between the Old and New Testaments and from the material to the spiritual plane.

What's included

8 videos3 readings1 quiz1 peer review

Filling in the background of Romanesque churches that preceded Gothic buildings, we discuss the origins and engineering innovations of the new style of religious architecture. These include ribbed vaults, reinforced pillars, pointed arches, flying buttresses, and a modular system of bay construction; all of which permits the construction of higher and lighter, thinner walls filled with stained glass.

What's included

4 videos1 peer review

Moving to the heart of Paris, we explore the initial construction of Notre-Dame and the innovations that were undertaken almost as soon as the building began. We discuss the sculptural programs of Notre-Dame’s West façade, including the portal which depicts the life of Saint Anne, Christ’s grandmother, and Mary, his mother and the central portal of the Last Judgment. Along the south side, we discover the story of the stoning of Saint Stephen; and, along the North, the miracle of Theophilus and the Virgin. Moving inside the cathedral, we encounter the stunning rose windows of Notre-Dame.

What's included

10 videos3 readings1 quiz

Here we examine the cathedral in terms of surrounding intellectual and everyday life. A reading of Peter Abelard’s autobiography, The Story of my Misfortunes, testifies to the growth of the scholastic method in the context of the earliest university culture; and two verse comic tales, “The Crucified Priest” and “The Peekaboo Priest” introduce the new mentality of the inhabitant of towns with emphasis on cleverness, quick thinking, and timing along with an anti-clerical spirit.

What's included

5 videos3 readings1 peer review

In Module 6 we move West of Paris to the cathedral of Chartres where Gothic architecture hits its stride. We explore the history of Chartres, its unique and mysterious architectural features, and its miraculous relic—the Holy Tunic. We discuss the financing of Chartres as seen in the windows donated by merchant which depict the various urban trades alongside the sculpture of the West façade, the rose and lancet stained glass windows, and the secular Zodiac and Charlemagne windows, the latter of which is linked to important literary works of the period.

What's included

10 videos1 reading1 quiz

In Module 7 we examine in some detail The Song of Roland, portions of which are depicted in the stained glass of Chartres, and we explore the relationship of relics from the Middle East to cathedral building.

What's included

7 videos1 reading1 peer review

In Module 8 we explore Saint Louis’s building of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris as a house of glass, a new Ark of the Covenant, to house the relics he had amassed. Using Jean de Joinville’s Life of Saint-Louis as our source, we encounter the Saint King’s life as a crusader, his death, canonization, and the miracles performed by his body on his way to sainthood.

What's included

12 videos1 reading1 quiz

By way of conclusion, we explore the history of Gothic cathedrals from the Middle Ages to the present.

What's included

1 video

Instructor

Instructor ratings
4.8 (132 ratings)
Howard Bloch
Yale University
1 Course35,735 learners

Offered by

Yale University

Recommended if you're interested in History

Why people choose Coursera for their career

Felipe M.
Learner since 2018
"To be able to take courses at my own pace and rhythm has been an amazing experience. I can learn whenever it fits my schedule and mood."
Jennifer J.
Learner since 2020
"I directly applied the concepts and skills I learned from my courses to an exciting new project at work."
Larry W.
Learner since 2021
"When I need courses on topics that my university doesn't offer, Coursera is one of the best places to go."
Chaitanya A.
"Learning isn't just about being better at your job: it's so much more than that. Coursera allows me to learn without limits."

Learner reviews

Showing 3 of 459

4.7

459 reviews

  • 5 stars

    78.69%

  • 4 stars

    16.30%

  • 3 stars

    3.47%

  • 2 stars

    0.65%

  • 1 star

    0.86%

SM
4

Reviewed on Jan 27, 2021

CS
4

Reviewed on Apr 15, 2018

DO
5

Reviewed on Apr 4, 2019

Placeholder

Open new doors with Coursera Plus

Unlimited access to 7,000+ world-class courses, hands-on projects, and job-ready certificate programs - all included in your subscription

Advance your career with an online degree

Earn a degree from world-class universities - 100% online

Join over 3,400 global companies that choose Coursera for Business

Upskill your employees to excel in the digital economy

Frequently asked questions