Stephen Murray, "Notre-Dame of Amiens: Life of the Gothic Cathedral" (Columbia UP, 2020)

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Notre-Dame of Amiens is one of the great Gothic cathedrals. Its construction began in 1220, and artistic production in the Gothic mode lasted well into the sixteenth century. In Notre-Dame of Amiens: Life of the Gothic Cathedral (Columbia UP, 2020), Stephen Murray invites readers to see the cathedral as more than just a thing of the past: it is a living document of medieval Christian society that endures in our own time.

Murray tells the cathedral’s story from the overlapping perspectives of the social groups connected to it, exploring the ways that the layfolk who visit the cathedral occasionally, the clergy who use it daily, and the artisans who created it have interacted with the building over the centuries. He considers the cycles of human activity around the cathedral and shows how groups of makers and users have been inextricably intertwined in collaboration and, occasionally, conflict. The book travels around and through the spaces of the cathedral, allowing us to re-create similar passages by our medieval predecessors. Murray reveals the many worlds of the cathedral and brings them together in the architectural triumph of its central space.

A beautifully illustrated account of a grand, historically and religiously important building from a variety of perspectives and in a variety of time periods, this book offers readers a memorable tour of Notre-Dame of Amiens that celebrates the cathedral’s eight hundredth anniversary.

Notre-Dame of Amiens is enhanced by high-resolution images, liturgical music, and animations embedded in an innovative website.

Bryan Toepfer, AIA, NCARB, CAPM is the Principal Architect for TOEPFER Architecture, PLLC, an Architecture firm specializing in Residential Architecture and Virtual Reality. He has authored two books, “Contractors CANNOT Build Your House,” and “Six Months Now, ARCHITECT for Life.” He is an Adjunct Professor at Alfred State College and the Director of Education for the AIA Rochester Board of Directors. Always eager to help anyone understand the world of Architecture, he can be reached by sending an email to btoepfer@toepferarchitecture.

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