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  It is said[1] that Fleury "reformed" the abbey of St. Peter's of Chartres in the 10th century.
  This event was, apparently, only one of quite a few similar propogations of the monastic "reform" movement made in France in the course of this pivotal century by the formost Ligerienne Benedictine abbey which was then at the heights of its power and influence. [2]
  The Chartrain house, founded (perhaps) in the 6th century had (presumably) enjoyed a certain flourishing during the course of the period of stabillity provided by the Carolingian regnum, but
had (presumably) fallen into lay hands in the course of the collapse of the Carolingian regime in the late 9th and 10th centuries, and this "reform" represented, among other things, a (relative) return to a certain degree of autonomy for the abbey viz-a-viz the local secular powers which, ultimately, controled virtually all of contemporary social and economic life in the region [3].



   The North façade of the collegiate church of St. Mary Magdelaine of Châteaudun was once festooned with quite a number of sculpted figures, only a few of which survive in a condition which allows us to understand their figure style in any detail.




   The ensemble was captured in a few engravings made in the 17th and 18th centuries, perhaps after some medieval displacements and early modern vandalism, but, largely, before the almost equally damaging erosion of our own time has defaced them nearly beyond recognition. [1]
  However, while none of the larger, "column figures" has survived to our own day, there are at least two of the smaller relief figures which have (momentarily, since each year's weathering takes its tole) retained enough detail to be subject to some analysis, which we include here.


The Central Portal of the North Façade of St. Mary's of Châteaudun.

  There are now three doorways in this façade, but originally there seems to have been a central, round-arched portal, without a tympanum but with three ranks of figured archivolts, beyond which is an acanthus frieze, theses being flanked on the outside by two standing figures in high relief, below shallow arches in the drip molding above them. The whole is laid out between two projecting butresses,beneath a central oculus window, which is flanked by four standing figures, two on each side, ultimately capped by a broad, flat, slanting drip molding.
Much of this format is reminiscent of the late 11th-early 12th c. portal of the church of St. Basile of
Étampes, itself perhaps a copy of a lost portal from the cathedral of Orléans.
Both of these latter portals are without tympana but sport multiple ranks of carved archivolts, the inner of which is somewhat "swollen" in the center, making room for a sort of pseudo-typmpanum, containing historiated scenes.

The West Façade
of St. Basil's
of Étampes

[1] T

[2] P

[3] V



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