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Heaven in Stone and Glass

Barron’s mission is much the same as John Drury’s in Painting the Word: to open a window on the symbolism of Christian art. Whereas Drury aimed to enrich appreciation of paintings, Barron unveils the symbolism of those triumphs of the art of Christendom, the Gothic cathedrals. Exemplifying primarily from Notre-Dame de Paris and Chartres, he discusses 14 features of a cathedral, including space, light, and orientation (e.g., the verticality of every major line in the building), as well as tangible features, such as the rose windows and the labyrinth on the floor at Chartres. Besides what a feature symbolizes — for instance, the cathedral’s interior space represents the womb of Our Lady, a place of safety and comfort — Barron explains the doctrinal rationale and implications of the feature’s significance. He does the latter so literately and congenially that the little book makes fine devotional as well as informational reading. ~ Ray Olson

Table of Contents

    • Illustrations    8
    • Introduction: A Cathedral Must Be Read    11
    • 1. Notre-Dame     15
    • 2. Light and Darkness    21
    • 3. Rose Windows     29
    • 4. Cruciformity     39
    • 5. Cosmic Consciousness     47
    • 6. The Last Judgment     55
    • 7. Our Jewish Origins     63
    • 8. The Crypt     71
    • 9. Verticality     79
    • 10. Gargoyles     87
    • 11. The Labyrinth     95
    • 12. Sacred Geometry     103
    • 13. Virtues and Vices     111
    • 14. The Heavenly Liturgy     119
    • 15. Concluding Meditation    127