Plan of the Chartres Cathedral labyrinth
- Study and Design -
Foreword - In Search of the Plan
The Chartres labyrinth cannot be considered as a simple decorative element. The elaboration of its drawing calls upon the most advanced mathematical knowledge of its time.
It should be recalled that the Middle Ages were obsessed with the certainty that numbers and proportions were the basis for understanding everything.
Each discovery of relationships between numbers or forms was considered as additional evidence of the existence of a universal law.
Thus the Chartres labyrinth bears witness to aesthetic and symbolic research that makes it a unique work.
However, no construction plan of the builders of the time has been found!
Without an exact plan of this labyrinth of such importance, bearing so many meanings, how can we then envisage its reproduction?
Because of its value, it was unconceivable for me that it would be just an approximation, only a copy and enlargement of existing drawings with proportions and details that
were obviously not respected…
It was one of the reference books on the labyrinth, "Chartres, the deciphered labyrinth" that gave me the keys!
The authors John and Odette Ketley-Laporte have meticulously carried out a huge amount of research, reflection and mathematical analysis.
At the time, the unit of measurement was not the decimal system but the Roman foot (294.45 mm), however for some works or constructions such as the Labyrinth,
the one of the Project Manager, called "Master's foot" was used.
➤ Calculations, tracing and construction of the Plan:
To elaborate the preparatory scheme of the labyrinth, I therefore based myself on their observations, taking up step by step their reasoning, their analyses and the measures taken on the spot.
After having decimalised the measurements and dimensions (conversion of the Master's foot into meters and cm, I completely recalculated and reconstructed, as faithfully as possible,
the geometric figure with the path, the joints, the curves, the scallops and the central rosette...
Once my calculations and trigonometric drawings were completed, I used the D.A.O. (computer-aided drawing) to elaborate the plan on a scale of 1/8 of the original,
which then allowed me to divide it and make the templates for cutting the marble..
An almost perfect plan
Through this faithful, methodical and meticulous study, this plan comes as close as possible to the values, proportions and dimensions of the original labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral.
Labyrinth of Chartes Cathedral
History, Origin and Symbolism