The south transept window of Notre Dame in Paris is made up of a large stained glass rose window and stained glass lancet windows.
The window was constructed in 1260 during the building of the transepts of the cathedral. The rose window measures over forty-two feet in diameter and is placed above sixteen lancet windows. To this day the majority of the stained glass panels are original.
The south window was a gift from King Saint Louis and illustrates scenes from the New and Old Testament. It was designed by Jean de Chelles and Pierre de Montreull. The rose window contained eighty-four stained glass panels. It is arranged in a series of overlapping circles with Christ in Majesty at the centre in a quatrefoil window. The first layer of the rose window contains twelve medallion windows, originally containing the twelve apostles. But after restoration some panels were put back in incorrect positions, mixing up the panels of Apostles and Saints amongst the first two layers of the rose window. The second layer of the rose window contains twenty four medallion windows, containing Saints and some of the misplaced Apostles. The third layer contains two series of twelve (twenty-four total) medallion windows, containing saints and scenes from the New and Old Testament. The fourth layer of the rose window contains twenty-four medallion windows, containing twenty angels and four other scenes).
The two spandrel windows, located between the rose window and the lancet windows, depict the ‘Decent into Hell’ and the ‘Resurrection of Christ’. The sixteen lancet windows below depict the sixteen prophets who represent the heavenly court. Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah and Jeremiah are the four prophets in the centre and who are each accompanied by one of the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Did you know?
There are three rose windows in the cathedral. As the sun passes the south side of the building, the window of the south transept receives the most natural sunlight and thus the most attention. The window of the north transept, with more elaborate detailing and containing eighteen lancet windows, is located directly opposite the south transept window. The third rose window is quite smaller than those on the transepts and it is located on the western façade of the building, above the main entrance.