The touchstones of Gothic monumental art in France - the abbey church of Saint-Denis and the cathedrals of Chartres, Reims, and Bourges - form the core of this collection dedicated to the memory of Anne Prache. The essays reflect the impact of Prache’s career, both as a scholar of wide-ranging interests and as a builder of bridges between the French and American academic communities. Thus the authors include scholars in France and the United States, both academics and museum professionals, while the thematic matrix of the book, divided into architecture, stained glass, and sculpture, reflects the multiple media explored by Prache during her long career. The essays employ a varied range of methodologies to explore Gothic monuments. The chapters in the architectural section include an intensive archeological analysis of the foundations of Reims Cathedral, the close reading of a late medieval literary text for a symbolic understanding of Paris, and essays that explore the medieval use of practical geometry in designing entire buildings and their components. Saint-Denis, Reims, and Chartres, all monuments studied by Prache, are discussed in the next part, on stained glass. These chapters demonstrate how old problems can be clarified by new evidence, whether from the accessibility of previously unknown archival information, for Reims, or through revelations that arise from restoration, at Chartres. These essays also include a study showing the complexity of making attributions for the storied glass of Saint-Denis. The final set of essays likewise takes different approaches to sculpture, whether constructing links to the liturgy at Reims, or discussing the meaning of a sculptural ensemble studied by Prache early in her career, the cloister of Notre-Dame-en-Vaux in ChÃ¢lons-en-Champagne, or scrupulously examining the faÃ§ade sculpture at Bourges Cathedral for insights into the design process. As a whole, the volume provides a window onto key directions in the study of
"The editors and authors have done a fine job celebrating Prache’s great intellectual acumen, diplomatic gifts, and warmth as a human being, while leaving behind erudite 'memories' and a wealth of new ideas."
- CAA Reviews