Apr 02

The Cathedral, by Dr. William Cook (Teaching Company Series) ★★★★

This is a series of 24 1/2 hour lectures offered by the Teaching Company in the video format only. Cook provides an informative 24 sessions, progressing from the Roman to Romanesque to Gothic to modern architecture of the cathedral. Cook’s main focus was on the superficial architectural design, and on the artwork, consisting of the design work, statues, and stained glass seen throughout European cathedrals. Him greatest emphasis was on the Gothic cathedrals of France, and he chooses to elaborate on the greatest of the French cathedrals, leaving the cathedrals of England, Germany, Spain, and eastern Europe only superficial touches. Though I find that he spends too much time elaborating on cathedral art, he is quite effective at generating an interest in paying more attention to portals and stain glass. I wish he would have spoken more about the general structure of the cathedral,  rather than limiting the interest solely to the main chapel. He also spent very little time elaborating the means of cathedral design and construction. The Teaching Company series on Understanding the World’s Greatest Structures seems to complement well this course, and Betsy and I are currently watching that series.

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