Flèche

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Fleche of Sainte-Chapelle, Ile de la Cite, designed by Jean-Baptiste Lassus. Clocher de la Sainte-Chapelle.JPG
Flèche of Sainte-Chapelle, Île de la Cité, designed by Jean-Baptiste Lassus.
Notre-Dame de Paris with its 19th century fleche, lost to fire in 2019. Notre Dame de Paris Est side.jpg
Notre-Dame de Paris with its 19th century flèche, lost to fire in 2019.
Fleche of St Michael's Castle, St Petersburg, designed by Vasily Bazhenov. Mikhailovskii (Inzhenernyi) zamok, Bashnia tserkvi.jpg
Flèche of St Michael's Castle, St Petersburg, designed by Vasily Bazhenov.
Model of the fleche of Notre-Dame de Paris made for Eugene Viollet-le-Duc (1859) (Museum of Historic Monuments, Paris) Maquette de la charpente de la fleche de la cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris.jpg
Model of the flèche of Notre-Dame de Paris made for Eugene Viollet-le-Duc (1859) (Museum of Historic Monuments, Paris)

A flèche (French : flèche, lit.  'arrow' [3] ) is the name given to spires in Gothic architecture: in French the word is applied to any spire, but in English it has the technical meaning of a spirelet or spike on the rooftop of a building. [4] [5] In particular, the spirelets often built atop the crossings of major churches in mediaeval French Gothic architecture are called flèches. [5]

On the ridge of the roof on top of the crossing (the intersection of the nave and the transepts) of a church, flèches were typically light, delicate, timber-framed constructions with a metallic sheath of lead or copper. [6] They are often richly decorated with architectural and sculptural embellishments: tracery, crockets, and miniature buttress es serve to adorn the flèche. [6]

Flèches are often very tall: the Gothic Revival spire of Notre-Dame de Paris (18582019) by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc was about 100 feet (30 m) before its destruction in the Notre-Dame de Paris fire, while the 16th century flèche of Amiens Cathedral is 148 feet (45 m) high. [6]

The highest flèche in the world was built at the end of the 19th century for Rouen Cathedral, 157 metres (515 ft) high in total.[ citation needed ]

A short spire or flèche surrounded by a parapet is common on churches in Hertfordshire; as a result this type of flèche is called a Hertfordshire spike. [7]

See also

Notes

  1. Curl, James Stevens; Wilson, Susan, eds. (2015), "Lassus, Jean-Baptiste-Antoine", A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (3rd ed.), Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acref/9780199674985.001.0001/acref-9780199674985-e-2613, ISBN   978-0-19-967498-5 , retrieved 2020-05-27
  2. Curl, James Stevens; Wilson, Susan, eds. (2015), "Bazhenov, Vasily Ivanovich", A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (3rd ed.), Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acref/9780199674985.001.0001/acref-9780199674985-e-476, ISBN   978-0-19-967498-5 , retrieved 2020-05-27
  3. "Definition of Spirelet". collinsdictionary.com. Retrieved 2020-05-21.
  4. Curl, James Stevens; Wilson, Susan, eds. (2015), "spire", A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (3rd ed.), Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acref/9780199674985.001.0001/acref-9780199674985-e-4392, ISBN   978-0-19-967498-5 , retrieved 2020-05-27
  5. 1 2 Curl, James Stevens; Wilson, Susan, eds. (2015), "flèche", A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (3rd ed.), Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acref/9780199674985.001.0001/acref-9780199674985-e-1827, ISBN   978-0-19-967498-5 , retrieved 2020-05-27
  6. 1 2 3 "Flèche | architecture". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2017-12-14.
  7. Curl, James Stevens; Wilson, Susan, eds. (2015), "Hertfordshire spike", A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (3rd ed.), Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acref/9780199674985.001.0001/acref-9780199674985-e-2249, ISBN   978-0-19-967498-5 , retrieved 2020-05-27

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