- Photographs by Stuart Whatling

Bourges Cathedral - the Portal Sculpture


The central and southern portals of the west facade, with the numbering of the Genesis cycle spandrels
(both of the northern portals were rebuilt in the post-medieval period following the collapse of the north tower)


Scroll down to see the various sections of the cycle - click on individual spandrels in the pictures
below to view detailed photographs, or else click here to begin viewing the scenes in sequence.


Buttress III. Spandrel 15b (vegetation), 13 (trampling the asp?) and 11a (a basilisk ?)


Portal C, left embrasure. Spandrel 11b (angels), 09 (Creation), 07 (creation of Adam), 05 (forbidden fruit), 03 (temptation), 01 (the Fall)


Portal C, right embrasure. Spandrels 02 + 04 (God finds Adam and Eve), 06 (Expulsion from Paradise), 08 (left half - Adam delving and Eve
spinning; right half - Abel's offering), 10 (left half - Cain's offering; right half - God rejects Cain's offering), 12a (Cain murdering Abel)


Buttress IV. Spandrel 12b (Lamech out hunting), 14 (guided by a boy, Lamech looses his arrow at...) 16a (...Cain rustling the bushes)


Portal D, left embrasure. Spandrel 16b (Noah instructed by God), 18 (building the Ark), 20 + 22 (Noah's family and the beasts entering the Ark)


Portal D, right embrasure. Spandrels 24, 26 + 28 (bodies of men, beasts and giants drowning in the flood), 30a (a basilisk?)


Buttress V. Spandrel 30b (corpses in the floodwater), 32 (Noah releasing a dove), 34 (trees exposed by the receding waters)


Portal E, left embrasure. Spandrel 34b (corpses exposed by the receding floodwaters), 36 (the Ark on dry land),
38 (left half - Noah's family leaving the Ark; right half - preparing the first vineyard), 40 (the planting of the vine)


Portal E, Right embrasure. Spandrel 42 (harvesting the grapes), 44 (making the first wine), 46 (drunkenness of Noah), 48a (Shem and Japheth)


Buttress VI. Spandrel 48b (Noah's offering to God), 50 (left half - God's covenant with Noah; right half - agriculture?), 52 (viticulture?)


Spandrel 15b - Grapevines Spandrel 13 - a male figure trampling an asp (Psalm 90/91?) Spandrel 11a - a basilisk amidst vegetation (?) Spandrel 11a - a basilisk amidst vegetation (?) Spandrel 09 - God creating the sun (held by angel upper left) and moon (upper right) Spandrel 07 - (left) angels adoring God (in spandrel 09), and (right) the creation of Adam Spandrel 05 - God instructing Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge Spandrel 03 - (left) the serpent tempting Eve, (right) the serpent overseeing the fall (in spandrel 01) Spandrel 01 - The Fall - Adam and Eve tasting the forbidden fruit Spandrel 02 - Adam and Eve trying to hide their nakedness after the Fall (admonished by God in 04) Spandrel 04 - God admonishing Adam and Eve (in preceding spandrel) Spandrel 06 - Adam and Eve (and the serpent!) expelled from Paradise Spandrel 08 - (left) Adam delving while Eve spins, and (right) God accepting Abel's offering of a lamb Spandrel 10 - two scenes; (left) Cain's offering of wheat, and (right) God rejecting Cain's offering Spandrel 12a - Cain murdering Abel Spandrel 12b - Lamech goes hunting, guided by a youth Spandrel 14 - Lamech, guided by a youth, fires an arrow into the bushes where Cain is hiding Spandrel 16a - Cain rustling the bushes, about to be shot by Lamech Spandrel 16b - God (on the right, leaning out of spandrel 18) instructing Noah to build the Ark Spandrel 18 - Noah building the Ark (detail upper left is God instructing Noah in the preceding spandrel) Spandrel 20 - Entering the Ark as the waters rise- 1 of 2 Spandrel 22 - Entering the Ark as the waters rise - 2 of 2 Spandrel 24 - People and animals drowning in the floodwaters - 1 of 3 (incomplete carving) Spandrel 26 - People and animals drowning in the floodwaters - 2 of 3 Spandrel 28 - People and animals drowning in the floodwaters - 3 of 3 Spandrel 30a - a basilisk (the serpent?) caught in the rising flood waters Spandrel 30b - Corpses in the floodwaters Spandrel 32 - Noah sending a dove to investigate the flooding situation Spandrel 34a - Trees uncovered by the receding waters Spandrel 34b - Corpses exposed by the receding waters Spandrel 36 - The leaving of the Ark - 1 of 2 Spandrel 38 - (left) The family of Noah leaving the Ark - 2 of 2, and (right) Preparing the first vineyard Spandrel 40 - Planting the first vine Spandrel 42 - The first grape harvest Spandrel 44 - The making of the first wine Spandrel 46 - the drunkenness of Noah Spandrel 48a - the sons of Noah (Shem and Japheth) ? Spandrel 48b - Noah offering sacrifices to the Lord (Gen. 8:20) Spandrel 50 - (left) God showing Noah the rainbow as a mark of his covenant, (right) bounty of the Earth - personification of agriculture?? Spandrel 52 - Bounty of the Earth - personification of viticulture ??