Some historians are capable of such precision that it offers can sometimes be a real trip back in time. The Museum of Cluny, the counter of the machine to go back in the centuries, actuated by two commissioners of the most rigorous, Damien Fooled and Philippe Plagnieux, stopped somewhere between 1135 and 1150. When, during these fifteen short years, the style that will be called much later, the gothic is born, supplanting soon the old romanesque style to spread beyond the royal domain capetian and the more powerful then, of the counts of Blois-Champagne.

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closer to 130 concise vestiges seen in the light of the illuminations and stained-glass windows, they detail the back-and-forth of prototypes and adaptations between the building concomitant of Chartres and St.-Denis via Paris. Including the bedside tables of the abbey of Sainte-Geneviève missing since the Nineteenth century and, especially, Saint-Martin-des-Champs.

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The modernity of these places of worship which, suddenly, are covered with floral volutes and geometric then jumps to the eyes. The taste humanist antiquisant builders. Their columns, columns, keystones and capitals are populated by sirens-birds, lions, spitting and characters of all conditions, of the majestic Fathers of the Church to the laborious stone-cutters.

The exhibition Birth of the gothic sculpture. Saint-Denis, Paris, Chartres, 1135-1150

Cluny Museum 28, rue du Sommerard (Paris Ve) Tel.: 01 53 73 78 00

Hours: of the sea. to the lun. from 9: 15 to 17: 45. until 7 jan. Catalog: ed NMR, 272 p., 39 €