abelard's home socialism, sociology, supporting documents described Children and television violence

Click for an introduction to cathedrals and stained glass in France.France zone at abelard.org - another France

link to news zone What is memory, and intelligence? Incautious claims of IQ genes quotations at abelard.org, with source document where relevant link to short briefings documents
click for abelard's child education zone Loud music and hearing damage Energy - beyond fossil fuels economics and money zone at abelard.org - government swindles and how to transfer money on the net visit abelard's gallery link to document abstracts

analysis of a stained glass story window
st julian the hospitaller, Rouen cathedral

Window of St Julian the Hospitaller, Rouen cathedral. image © abelard.org, 2007

This page helpful?
Like it ! Share it !

related pages on cathedrals and stained glass


new! Cathedrale Saint-Gatien at Tours  Cathedrale Saint-Gatien at Tours

Romanesque churches and cathedrals in south-west France updated: Romanesque churches and cathedrals in south-west France

 the perpendicular or English style of cathedral  Manchester cathedral

the fire at the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris
the fire at the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris
cathedral giants - Amiens and Beauvais

Stone tracery in church and cathedral construction illustrated
stone in church and cathedral construction

stained glass and cathedrals in Normandy illustrated graph

fortified churches, mostly in Les Landes

cathedral labyrinths and mazes in France
using metal in gothic cathedral construction

Germans in France
cathedral destruction during the French revolution, subsidiary page to Germans in France

Click for an introduction to cathedrals and stained glass in France.

on first arriving in France - driving
France is not England
paying at the péage (toll station)

Click for motorways and motorway aires in France.

Transbordeur bridges in France and the world 2: focus on Portugalete, Chicago, Rochefort-Martrou
Gustave Eiffel’s first work: the Eiffel passerelle, Bordeaux
a fifth bridge coming to Bordeaux: pont Chaban-Delmas, a new vertical lift bridge

France’s western isles: Ile de Ré
France’s western iles: Ile d’Oleron

Ile de France, Paris: in the context of Abelard and of French cathedrals
short biography of Pierre (Peter) Abelard

Marianne - a French national symbol, with French definitive stamps

la Belle Epoque
Grand Palais, Paris

Click to go to pages about Art Deco at abelard.org

Click to go to 'the highest, longest: the viaduct de Millau'

Pic du Midi - observing stars clearly, A64
Carcassonne, A61: world heritage fortified city

Space City, Toulouse

the French umbrella & Aurillac

50 years old: Citroën DS
the Citroën 2CV: a French motoring icon

the forest as seen by Francois Mauriac, and today
Les Landes, places and playtime
roundabout art of Les Landes

Hermès scarves

Hèrmes logo

bastide towns
mardi gras! carnival in Basque country
country life in France: the poultry fair

what a hair cut! m & french pop/rock

Tour de France 2023s

Le Tour de France: cycling tactics illustrated

Cathedrals 3: Poitiers, neglected masterpiece

click to return to the France Zone home page

New translation, the Magna Carta

Key to the story panes in the St Julian the Hospitaller window
photography and stained glass
changes in glass - restoration
the saint julian window in its modern state
end notes

related Rouen pages

outline marking the positions of events in the associated story window.
key to the story panes in the St Julian the Hospitaller window

Key to the story panes in the St Julian the Hospitaller window in Rouen Cathedral

The story was rewritten by the writer Gustav Flaubert [1821 - 1880] who was born and lived in Rouen.

  1. The tree medallions show the donors: the Brotherhood of fishermen.
  2. Julian’s childhood with his parents.
  3. A deer had predicted that he would kill his parents. To escape his fate, Julian leaves his family.
  4. He enters the service of a lord, by putting his hands in the hands of his protector, in a typical feudal gesture.
  5. Julian returning from hunting.
  6. Julian serves at the table of his lord and wife. Young nobles would give military and other service in return for food and board.
  7. The lord falls ill and is give last the rights. Julian and the lord’s wife are present.
  8. The lord dies. Julian raises his hands to heaven, while the wife clasps her hands in prayer.
  9. Julian marries the widow of his lord.
  10. Julian becomes a lord through his marriage, now living a lord’s life. Here he departs for war, armed as a knight with helmet, halbert and spear. He is accompanied by other warriors.
  11. In a military camp composed of tents, Julian rests under his tent.
  12. The parents of Julian, worried by his disappearance go to look for him.
  13. Arriving at the castle in Julian’s absence, they are welcomed by his wife. Julian has gone hunting, a common occupation of lords.
  14. Julian returning from the war.
  15. To honour her husband’s parents, as often happens, the parents are given the master bedroom. Of course, Julian does not know what has happened. When he returns, he sees two bodies in his bed and thinks his wife has cheated. He draws his sword and kills the two people asleep in the bed - his mother and father.
  16. Leaving the bedroom, Julian meets his wife who tells him the truth. The deer's prophesy is His wife tells him the true situation.
  17. In despair, Julian decides to leave everything. He leaves the castle, with his wife who refuses to leave him.
  18. Julian founds a hospital. At that time, hospitals had more extensive roles than now. Principally, they welcomed travellers (the role of hospitality). As many of the travellers were ill, the hospitals gave treatments - this is the origin of our current use of the word ‘hospital’. This scene show Julian’s wife care for a sick person.
  19. The hospital is near a river, so Julian becomes a ferryman, which is a common activity of a hospitaller in the Middle Ages. He transports people who appear from one side of the river in a boat.
  20. During a stormy night, Julian hears a voice calling from the other side of the river. His wife urges him to get up.
  21. Julian crosses the river made turbulent by the storm.
  22. On the other bank, an unknown passenger waits. The legend describes the person as a leper, but he is recognisable as Jesus.
  23. Julian brings the passenger back. Note that from this moment, Julian has a halo, the mark of holiness.
  24. On the river bank, in front of the hospital door, Julian’s wife waits, a lamp in her hand.
  25. The leper shows himself to be Jesus, and announces the redemption of Julian.
  26. The Devil., not cowed, tries again to retake his prey. Here, the horned Devil calls Julian.
  27. Julian takes the Devil across the river, as is his job. The black figure is the Devil and Julian is the glowing saintly figure.
  28. In a last effort, the Devil tempt Julian and his wife, in their bed, to “commit the sin of the flesh”.
  29. Julian and his wife go to Heaven. At the death of the couple, two angels lift their souls to heaven in a mandorle.
  30. The scene [28] is framed by two eulogising angels.
  31. Jesus majestically throned at the top of the stained glass window. The represented with traditional iconography: sitting on his throne, the globe in his left hand and making a blessing with his right.

Plan of Rouen Cathedral, locating the St. Julian the Hospitaller window.

photography and stained glass

As mentioned elsewhere, much of the historic buildings of Rouen were severely damaged or destroyed during the Second World War.

the metcalf collection

Shortly before World War Two, Gertrude and Robert Metcalf were photographing stained glass windows, continuing right up to the beginning of the war. Colour films and techniques were less developed at that time and their film has deteriorated badly. The Metcalfs’ work has ended up in an archive at Princeton University and is now available online. The web site is very badly organised and requires special in-site searching.

While those scanning in the film tried to clean up the images a bit, it is obvious that they did not know what they were doing. To the left, you can see a typical example taken straight from the archive page [Slide Metcalf Number R503F32], and below you can see what we have managed to do with this scan at abelard.org, with about twenty minutes work. Yes, this really is developed directly from the scan on the left.

Julian resting under a tent at the battle front.
10 Julian resting under a tent at the battle front.

Julian returning from the war.
13 Julian returning from the war.

Julian mistakenly kills his parents.
14 Julian mistakenly kills his parents.

Julian ferrying the Devil across the river.
26 Julian ferrying the Devil across the river.

Julian and his wife go to Heaven.
28 - Julian and his wife go to Heaven.

Some close-up images of story panes in the St Julian the Hospitaller window

[Images from the “Les Vitraux de la cathédrale de Rouen” CD-ROM produced by Jacques Tanguy]

The Metcalf slide of the St Julian the Hospitaller story window.

Story panes 25 to 28, plus Jesus and angels

Story panes 16 to 24

Story panes 9 to 15

Story panes 0 to 8

Stained glass window from Rouen cathedral

changes in glass - restoration

As discussed in Cathedrals introduction: reading stained glass, the effect of glass changes by time of day and season. The presentation of the Julian the Hospitaller window above gives a good idea of the way these old windows look before any modern restoration, in fairly average light conditions of the subdued light of a cathedral where much is glazed with twelfth or thirteenth century glass.

A major part of what gives life to stained glass is ‘imperfections’ in the glass itself. The best modern stained glass manufacturers and artists realise this. They do not drive out all the bubbles and surface imperfections. The artists, in fact, deliberately chip parts of inch-thick glass with a steel hammer to add to the livening effects of light dispersion. Over the centuries, the early glass has gathered pitting and a oxidised white layer on the external surface, in addition to the inconsistencies in the handmade, artisanal glass of the early centuries.

A great deal of poor quality glass and poor restoration work has been done by people who did not understand these things, and tried to ‘improve’ on the originals by using consistent, even glass (often referred to disparagingly in the trade as ‘cathedral glass’). While modern restoration is steadily improving, some of the effects of restoration have much brightened the old windows. Of course, replaced glass will no longer have the oxidised white layer and, consequently, some increase of brightness will bring the windows back closer to their original state.

the saint julian window in its modern state

To the left is a photograph of the modern restoration of the same story window. I have not seen this window recently (I am planning to send one of our roving yaks to do some research at the cathedral), from the photograph, as you can see, it is much brighter than the enhanced version derived from the Metcalf archive.

At the top of this page, you will see a numbered template of the (mostly) square panels in the Julian window. Notice that the window is built up in squares, as with most lancet windows. A great number of geometric patterns may be found in these windows, developed across several squares by the arrangement of the leading and glass. In the case of this window, each nine panel section can be seen to be divided into quadrifoils, the panels of nine being linked together by half-circles and circles. The whole design is surrounded by a decorative frame.

Under the numbered template above, there are five close-ups of some of these square panels.

end notes

  1. mandorle:
    An oval sarcophagus, in which Jesus and saints are often depicted after their death.
    The word comes from mandorla, the Italian word for almond

  2. Photo enhancing - increasing the dynamic range shows how the corrections were made, together with other techniques for improving and enriching photographs. Information on other digital photo enhancement techniques.

marker cathedrals – introduction: reading stained glass
marker gothic cathedral and church construction
marker cathedrals, an illustrated glossary
marker Chartres - wonder of the world
marker Notre Dame de Paris, Paris
marker lantern towers of Normandy and elsewhere
marker history of ugly stained glass: Auch, Bazas, Dreux
marker Auch cathedral choir and stalls
marker Rouen and Monet
marker at France pages Dax and church iconography marker photographs, Dax
marker Bazas - iconography and architectural styles
marker Poitiers, neglected masterpiece marker photographs, Poitiers / photos 2
marker Angers, heart of the Angevin Empire marker photographs, Angers
marker Laon, the midst of the gothic transition, with added oxen marker photographs, Laon
marker Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon
marker Notre Dame of Lausanne
marker Senlis - how a typical cathedral changes through the ages
marker Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges - the cathedral of the Pyrenees
marker Cathedrale Saint-Gatien at Tours

marker Le Mans and Bourges cathedrals - medieval space technology
marker Lausanne rose window - photo-analysis
marker cathedrals in Lorraine - the Three Bishoprics
marker cathedral giants - Amiens and Beauvais
marker Clermont-Ferrand and Agde - from volcanoes to cathedrals

marker Germans in France - Arras cathedral
marker Germans in France - Reims cathedral
marker Germans in France - St. Quentin cathedral
marker Germans in France - Noyon cathedral
marker Germans in France - Cambrai cathedral
marker Germans in France - Soissons cathedral

marker cathedral plans, and facts
marker stone in church and cathedral construction
marker using metal in gothic cathedral construction
marker cathedral labyrinths and mazes in France
marker cathedrals and cloisters of Franceby Elise Whitlock Rose
marker the perpendicular or English style of cathedral
marker Romanesque churches and cathedrals in south-west France

abstracts | briefings | information | headlines | loud music & hearing damage | children & television violence |
what is memory, and intelligence?
| about abelard

email abelard email email_abelard [at] abelard.org

© abelard, 2007, 15 may

all rights reserved

the address for this document is https://www.abelard.org/france/rouen_stained_glass_story_window.php