The Auxerre Cathedral chevet plays an important role in the concept of a "Burgundian Gothic" architectural style. Despite its importance as the first monument in Burgundy in which the impact of High Gothic Chartres Cathedral is evident, it has been interpreted as resistant to Chartres because of its "diaphanous" double-shell structure. However, when its hybrid nature is understood as the result of a series of dynamic, overlapping designs, it appears that the Auxerre builders progressively modified their elevation to reflect the new architecture at Chartres, while retaining the double-shell structure. The result proved to be aesthetically successful, but structurally compromised, especially in the buttressing of the high vaults, which had to be consolidated in the 14th century. Because it is a large, completed component of an episcopal complex, the Auxerre chevet has been considered to be the formative monument of a Burgundian Gothic style. Many of its features have been traced to "progressive" northern French centers, thereby emphasizing its "provincial" position. If its early sources are identified at Lausanne Cathedral and Nôtre-Dame in Dijon, the Auxerre chevet can be seen as a more distinctive synthesis of 13th-century architectural currents and as part of a complex and diverse development of Gothic architecture in Burgundy.
- Copyright 1988 The Society of Architectural Historians