I knew Chartre would be a cool village to visit. I wasn’t prepared for the amazing blue windows. Perhaps I’m getting conditioned to the effect of stained-glass windows. I’ve been to some of the finest cathedrals: Notre Dame de Paris, Sagrada Familia (even the empty windows are amazing), the Vatican, and of course Sainte Chappelle. But the blue glass in Chartre is amazing.
It reminds me of the Venetian paintings. As a port city, the artists of Venice had access to precious raw materials at a discounted rate. They piled the expensive blue pigment (crushed lapis from egypt) onto their canvases to demonstrate their skill and wealth. Chartre also used these expensive pigments in their windows. The effect is overwhelming.
Yves Klein created and trademarked a particular hue of blue. He claimed this perfect blue would send the viewer into a meditative state. Klein subsequently bathed everything he could find, including the random naked model, in the blue paint. His signature color became a cartoon of the artist.
As silly as it sounds, his blue paintings really do work. I’ve stood in front of a 4 foot by 4 foot square of IKB(tm) blue and my mind started to go into meditation state. It’s amazing how this color can change your physical and mental state.
Walking into the Chartre cathedral reminded me of Klein. It was much more relaxing and comfortable than Notre Dame. I felt at ease and inspired at the same time. Luckily, I brought some fast color film and was able to capture some images of the windows that remind me of the atmosphere.