"The Making of History and the Virgin of Chartres: Liturgy, Art,
and Identity in the Central Middle Ages"
Margot Fassler, Yale University
Chartres burned many times in the Middle Ages, and the cathedral burned at least three times. Each conflagration required intense reconstruction not only of a building, but also of the past. From the eleventh century forward, the people of this town returned to the days of Bishop Fulbert, to the time when the Feast of Mary's Nativity became defined as the patronal feast, and when the Thibaudian family enjoyed a time of great political power. It will be seen how the history shaped within the liturgy gained a privileged position in this place, inspiring a vast myth of construction that sustained the identity of the town and its cathedral for centuries. The study will end with views of an engraving made in 1697 by Nicholas De Larmessin, "Le Triomphe de la Sainte Vierge dans l'Eglise de Chartres," a work that is striking both in the totality of its message and in the careful detail it provides.
© 2002 Fordham University