ABBOT SUGER -father of Gothic architecture -Part IV

Post 741 -by Gautam Shah

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53 Abbot_Suger

6 Plan of Abbey of st Denis showing original structure with multiple alterations in stages


6 Abbey Saint-Denis After, Abbot Suger’s death —


Suger had close relationship with the Royals. He was consulted on many issues of governance and political nature. His administrative and oratory skills were admired. He was appointed as the Regent of France, and asked to look after the royal administration, when the King, Louis VII, departed to join the Second Crusade. The construction on Saint-Denis came to near stand still.

63 IInd Crusade and Louis VII BattleOfInab

When Abbot Suger died in 1151, the western and eastern ends of the abbey were ready, but new Nave had only the foundations ready. St Denis abbey remained incomplete entity for eighty years. In 1231, Abbot Odo Clement, began work on the rebuilding of the Nave, and redefinition of upper structure of Suger’s Choir. The Nave and Choir were completed fifty years later, in 1281. The Nave with extensive glass windows and thin columns in Rayonnant Gothic style were awe inspiring. The spatial style became a trend setter for sacred church spaces across Europe. After 13th C very few changes occurred in the Abbey of St Denis, however some adjunct structures were built between 1701 and 1781.

64 sainte chapelle Flickr Image 1128995_960_720

Rayonnant Gothic architecture did not offer much in structural improvements. Builders were less concerned with rationalizing the structure, as the space perception was now an emerging issue. In a later phase of Rayonnant Gothic, the builders adopted geometrical patterns, which, over the years were to become complex. New architectural features such as mouldings, piers, rose windows, pinnacles and window traceries were added.

65 Flamboyant rib vaulting of Segovia Cathedral, nave (1525–1577)

66 Saint-Stephen Cathedral in a Rayonnant Gothic style https flickr.com photos 15216811 at N06 22681961873

A third style of Gothic architectural design emerged around 1280. It was known as Flamboyant Gothic architecture. This was even more decorative than Rayonnant, and continued until about 1500 AD. The Flamboyant Gothic architecture was superfluous imposition of patterns. The tracery patterns had S-shaped flame-like curve motifs. Such motifs were imposed on masonry and other architectural elements.

62 Underground Vaults Crypts https www.flickr comphotospelegrino 3724500005

The Structures perceived for St Denis Abbey were radically different well planned, but executed in haste. There were many underground vaults. The vaults were not substantial enough to bear the weight of the choir, so collapsed, (there was no mathematical calibration system, structures were designed through experience). These were replaced within a hundred years. Similarly, thin ambulatory columns required heavier replacement.

67 Choir Ambulatory, Basilica of St. Denis by Abbot Suger 1140-44 Paris https www.flickr.com photos profzucker 7227722006

Suger’s successor, Abbot Eudes Clement, constructed a large new transept to replace the Carolingian nave with two important innovations. First, the old piers supporting the roof were replaced by pillars. Two, very large rose windows entirely filled the upper ends of the transepts.

68 Buttress Supports on Outside St Denis

It is believed that Abbot Odo, with the approval of the Regent Blanche of Castile and her son, the young King Louis IX, planned for the new nave and its large crossing to have a much clearer focus as the French ‘royal necropolis or burial place. That plan was fulfilled in 1264 under Abbot Matthew of Vendôme, when the bones of 16 former kings and queens were relocated into new tombs arranged around the crossing, eight Carolingian monarchs to the south and eight Capetians to the north.

The Abbey of Saint-Denis (1140) in Paris, was one of the earliest surviving Gothic structures. Other, near contemporary churches, were Notre-Dame de Paris (1163-1345) and Laon Cathedral (1112-1215). Gothic structures evolved out of Romanesque ones and lasted from the mid 12th C to late 16th C, in some parts of Germany.

78 Interior of the Laon cathedral Wikipedia Image by Szilas

78 Laon Cathedral (from North-East) 78 Interior of the Laon cathedral Wikipedia Image by Szilas https www.flickr.com photos cuthbertian 2083912005

7 Abbey Saint-Denis the changes in Glass —

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70 St Denis Rode window South Face Wikipedia Image by Zairon

Suger Abbot had marked preference for Blue and Red colour in stained glass compositions. The colours (Red -jasper Blue -sapphire), were the representations of passion, holy blood, and the colour of heaven, respectively. These two colours were too dark for interior spaces. During daytime the stained glasses on the exteriors are dead grey, and at night time the interiors are lifeless (in absence of significant street illumination). This required lighter and fewer colour shades, leading to adoption of Grisaille (monochrome) glass.

71 Basilica of St Denis, France chapel of the Virgin

The use of a light-coloured grisaille, and white backgrounds, became more common in the 14th C. The stained glasses were over-painted and overlaid with fine traceries that emulated the curves in the compositions. The figures in the composition though in colours, the backgrounds were in white glass to allow more light. The lancet or narrow windows had a single figure, accentuating the vertical. The quality of the glass became much better, due to the improvements in the materials and the process of glass-blowing. The white glass became lighter in weight and more translucent. The interior walls were increasingly covered with dense tracery and decorations, competing with the windows.

72 Patron sponsored Glass St Denis https www.pxfuel.com en free-photo-qdolw

The patrons were frequently pictured in the windows that they funded, praying or in the case of the craft guilds, shown at work. In the 12th and 13th C, the practice became very common. Donors like bakers, butchers, tanners, furriers, money-changers, and other professions were shown at work. There was marked preference for geometric motifs in areas with little religious importance. Many of the later day replacement have such motifs and lighter colours.

73 Later day work of staine glass but lighter colour built on the traditions of Suger's work Details https www flickr.com photos profzucker 7227725174

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8 Abbey Saint-Denis during French Revolution —

77 The violation of the royal tombs in 1793 French Revolution depicted by Hubert Robert

Catholic Entity, the Abbey of Saint-Denis, was a victim of French Revolution. Due to its connections with the French monarchy and proximity to Paris, the abbey of Saint-Denis was a prime target of revolutionary vandalism. The anger was marked against the royal tombs. The tombs were opened and all the remains were dumped into mass unmarked graves. The cellars and building parts were used as grain storage. Its many architectural parts were damaged, destroyed or stripped off. Last service was held on Friday, 14 September 1792, and the order was dissolved the next day.

74 The looting of the church in 1793, by Friedrich Staffnick.png

75 The grand transept of Cluny III - Cluny Abbey - The Chapel of Saint Martial https www.flickr.com photos ell-r-brown 3576335763958425

In 1790 during the French Revolution, the abbey was sacked and mostly destroyed, with only a small part of the Abbey surviving. Cluny Abbey was wiped off the map. Founded in 910, Cluny had been the largest church in Christendom until the completion of St. Peter’s 700 years later.

The revolutionary government, ordered the violation of the sepulchre, but agreed to set up a commission for identifying the monuments of historical interest for preservation. The church structure remained, ‘but was deconsecrated, its treasury confiscated and its reliquaries and liturgical furniture melted down for their metallic value. Some objects, including a chalice and aquamanile donated to the abbey in Suger’s time, were successfully hidden and survive to this day’.

The church was deconsecrated by Napoleon in 1806, and he appointed François Debret to restore the church as his family mausoleum. He added new windows to the transept depicting the renovation. The church was officially granted the status of ‘cathedral’ in 1966. It is now the world’s largest museum of medieval and Renaissance statuary. ‘Basilica’ is an honorary title given to many of the churches of all eras, popular for pilgrimage. A cathedrals are of superior rank.

76 Rue saint denis in Paris

75 Thomas Girtin 1775–1802 Aqua tinted Rue Saint-Denis in Paris

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ABBOT SUGER -father of Gothic architecture -Part III


Post 740 -by Gautam Shah

5 Abbot Suger and formation of Gothic Structure —

43 Basic features of the Gothic architecture, like Rib Vaults, Pointed arches, thin ribbed columns and height Ambulatory Vaulting, Basilica of St. Denis https www flickr com photos pro7227729490

Basic features of the Gothic architecture, like Rib Vaults, Pointed arches, thin ribbed columns and height, were in use before, but for the first time, all were assembled together. The density and darkness of the Romanesque buildings were due to the heavy load bearing walls required to support the masonry domes. The heavy walls also accommodated the displacement thrusts within their thickness. The heavy walls could not rise up to great heights.

36 The sense of Vertical The ceiling at the crossing, St. Denis https www flickr.com photos scottgunn 28857102347 b81658603a_c

Suger recognised the value of, than sporadically used concept of flying buttresses. Sugar also saw that buttresses placed outside the enclosure skin, made the interiors free of heavy walls. The technical improvements of external buttresses and pointed arch-based vaults reduced the ‘self or dead load’ on columns. The enclosure skin or exterior walls were more or less replaced with columns. These schemes created greater height and larger windows.

38 The apse or East side of Cathedral with flying buttresses in 1878

44 Reformed Nave Basilica St Denis France Paris Wikipedia Image by Britchi Mirela

37 Basilica of Saint-Denis, Paris, interior Wikipedia Image by Rita1234

The significance of Saint-Denis, then, was not that its master builders pioneered the new forms of construction, it was simply the first time that they were used together with the intention of creating a markedly different effect than that which prevailed in the abbey’s Romanesque contemporaries. By skillfully combining these pre-existing threads, a new architectural creation was created.

41 Abbaye de Saint-Denis years 1140-1144 1231-1281 httpswww.flickr.comphotospsulibscollections5781829546 cd246320b8_k

Gothic style as it evolved had the columns and the vaults. The new features, like, rib, pointed arches, and column to column windows, all accentuated the verticality. The Gothic architecture intentionally maximized the lightness of the space through height. The abbot was deeply affected by the results of his own alterations and ‘wished to reinforce the same through artistic glass works’.

39 Gothic vaulting reduced the roof loads and use of pointed arch and vaults allowed equal roof height for all span widths. St. Denis https www flickr.com photos scottgunn 28857101797

In the first phase Sugar had to see that during the construction original structure remained substantially functional. The original Romanesque nave, the central space was kept intact. Suger added two bays (of 3 spans and 3 stories each) on new western front entrance, and a new Narthex, with 4 additional bays. The new western extension was completed in 1140. As construction of the western façade was completed, the most important and emotional section for the pilgrims and rulers was taken up. Crypts now had an airy, illuminated and wider space, which made it less suffocating and easy to move area.

42 Map of the tombs in Saint Denis Basilica

https://uk.tourisme93.com/basilica/map-of-the-tombs-saint-denis-basilica.html

46 Cathedral Basilica of Saint-Denis, Royal burial place for French Kings and Queens https www.flickr.com photos ninara 24596301962

‘About forty-two kings, thirty-two queens, sixty-three princes and princesses and ten loyal servants of the kingdom were buried in the Basilica of Saint Denis until the nineteenth century. The kings’ necropolis is one of the most important funerary monuments in the world. This was not always the case. Indeed, the Abbey in Saint-Denis was confronted with competition, especially from Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and only got recognition thanks to the obstinacy of Abbot Suger and the support of the Capetian dynasties’.

It was largely due to Suger, in the 12th C, the Basilica became a principal sanctuary of French Royalty. It was equally important place, like Reims Cathedral, where the Kings were crowned.

47 Basilique Saint Denis Model Wikipedia Image by Arnaud 25

To reconstruct such an important place, with a new structure (of double rows of columns + exterior colonnaded wall) was politically and religiously very risky decision. The old structure was preserved till the new 3 parts ribbed roof vaults became ready. The new external wall was full of stained glasses. The improvised new walls of stained glass, reduced the wall area, to minimum. This was completed after Suger’s death, and was known as Rayonnant Gothic or style Decorated Gothic.

48 Very difficult scheme of erecting new columns preserving the old ones for a while Ambulatory at St. Denis https www.flickr.com photos scottgunn 43745511422

Suger was able to design and strategize the first church in the Gothic style. He exploited the stained glass windows in St. Denis as a mural art to depict stories and messages far more brilliantly than the original Romanesque mosaic murals. The rich and famous, now wanted to contribute and participate in the reconstruction. They wanted their names to be included, and also suggested the themes for the compositions. This offered St. Denis huge sum.

49 Stained glass _window in the Basilica of Saint Denis Paris France

The themes of stained glass windows were of three types, dominantly religious, secular or ornamental. First two group are mixed, but the ornamental themes had entire surface.

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Suger had planned twin towers on west end, but, in his life, time only the southern one was completed. The northern tower was finished by one of his successors. The south one, twice faced lightening strikes in 1219 and 1837. It remained incomplete ever since.

51 Saint-Denis Basilique Fassade Wikipedia Image by Zairon

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ABBOT SUGER -father of Gothic architecture -Part II


Post 739 -by Gautam Shah

Part II of series IV
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4 Abbot Suger and Ideas on Illumination —

27 The The interior illumination and the new expanse of the space, was perceived as the metaphysical light or Christ’s divinity, not available anywhere else. https www.flickr.com photos scottgunn 2885710162

Suger, understood lux, as the external light, shining outside the cathedral, coming directly from the sun and nature. This was for everyone, ‘even the heretic and the wicked’. But, once it entered through the windows, it emitted in all directions, and transformed into lumen. It is a new metaphysical light through the tinted glass. This interior light was consecrated and holy, for ‘faith and divine inspiration’. The interior illumination and the new expanse of the space, was perceived as the metaphysical light or Christ’s divinity, not available anywhere else. The new ethereal wall and the illumination functioned much like the ancient temenos, a sanctimonious precinct. ‘Walk in the light, as He is in the light’.

28 Interior of Saint-Denis Wikipedia Image by Gilles Messian

Suger could, somehow, visualize three different Latin terms for Light: Lux, Lumen and Illumination. (The Three terms, perhaps derived from a book* by Avicenna, the Muslim philosopher and physician of 11th C). *Kitab al Shifa =’The Book of Healing or Latin title Sufficientiae’. This was a voluminous philosophical and scientific treatise or encyclopaedia. It covered, topics like logic, natural sciences, psychology, (the quadrivium or four subjects like, geometry, astronomy, mathematics besides music, and metaphysics).

29 Predominance of Blue- Red by Suger The heart of the sanctuary glows in splendour, which is united in splendour, radiates in splendour. Detail of 12th C glass, St. Denis https www.flickr.com photos scottgun.

Coloured glass had long been understood as a surrogate for the precious stones. It has been in use even before the Gothic era. The exploitation of colour contrasts (Red -jasper Blue -sapphire, where the red represented the passion, holy blood, and the blue, as the colour of heaven) was rather new interpretation. Incidentally, these two colours, form nearly the opposite ends of the visual spectrum.

29-1 Saint Denis Basilique Saint Denis Wikipedia Image by Pierre Poschadel

Delighted with the effect of light, Suger, inside the abbey church, engraved an inscription to the glory of Light. ‘The heart of the sanctuary glows in splendour, which is united in splendour, radiates in splendour’. He also said that ‘while light is necessary for the worthy glorification of God, the largest possible number of the faithful must also be able to pray without jostling, to approach and contemplate the Holy Relics on feast days’.

30 Inside view of stained glass, St. Denis Cathedral, St. Denis, France, upper choir Wikipedia Image by Ninaras

Suger transformed the cathedral space into a different place. ‘It was to like bringing heaven on earth’. He wrote, ‘the multicolored loveliness of the gems has transported me from material to immaterial things, sapphire glass of intense blue colour as having the same importance as gems.’ He identified the best Glass makers across Europe, and sourced the glass raw material for the new construction.

31 Windows light and organ at St Denis https www flickr com photos scottgunn 28857102537

The improvement of quality of glass, its popularity and widespread use occurred in this period, mainly because of reduction of colour tonal intensity resulting in increased transparency. A significant feature to emerge in the 13th C, was the development of grisaille glass windows. It is composed largely of white glass, generally painted with foliage designs, and leaded into complicated geometric patterns. Such glass was cheaper and easier to produce. Its introduction made interiors lighter and other art and architectural features, noticeable.

32 Dull colours and dominance to whites in stained glass allowed architectural features to be visually important Nave of the Basilica of St. Denis, Saint-Denis, France Wikipedia Image by Zairon

The Gothic Colours of stained glass are prone to mis-use in wrong hands. The interiors often became snazzy with too many colours, but of dark shades. During daytime the stained glass on exteriors are dead grey, and at night time the interiors are lifeless (in absence of significant street illumination). This forced adoption of Grisaille (monochrome) glasses.

33 Illustrations and cover of the treaty Diversarum Artium Schedula by Theophilus Presbyter - encyclopedia of technical knowledge in the Middle Ages in the field of art and craftsmanship.

The blown glass had technical imperfections such as air bubbles, striations, and ripples, this made the transparency lively, as the light seemed to refract through the mass. The church interiors were now glowing, not just with the light from expansive stained windows, but altars, crosses, other liturgical objects were all richly embellished with gems, draped with brightly coloured and gold lined fabrics, with the new donations.

35 Construction workers on Site in Bourges Bourges Cathedral Built atop an earlier Romanesque church from 1195 until 1230 Wikipedia Image by Gerd Eichmann

With the Renaissance, the stained glass was to become varied in colours, faultless, flatter, larger, thinner, but less vivid. The glass joints however could now be thinner and sparser. This thin joints were exploited, as less marked lines for zoning of colours, and more for the articulation of the thematic composition.

34 Lighter colours Flamboyant (late Gothic) style windows of the nave of the royal abbey-church of Saint-Ouen, Rouen (early 16th C. Wikipedia Image by Philippe Roudaut

The technique of making stained-glass windows was first documented in the Schedula Diversarum Artium, a compendium of craft-information probably written between 1110 and 1140 by the monk Theophilus.

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ABBOT SUGER -father of Gothic architecture -Part I

Post 738 -by Gautam Shah

Part I of series IV

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1 ABOUT ABBOT SUGER —

1A St Denis Abbey the cross centre space with high volume and Illumination The Stained Glass scheme of Abbot Suger era were darker but installation- repacements were in whiter background -with few colours

Abbot Suger (1081–1151) was a priest, statesman and good administrator, but was not an Architect (as assumed in the 19th and early 20th C.) And, yet, he has been called the father of Gothic architecture and design innovator. Suger is known for rebuilding of the Abbey of St.-Denis also known as Cathedral Basilica of St Denis, near Paris. The rebuilding included many trend-setting features marking, the emergence of Gothic style over the Romanesque, in France.

1 Abbot Suger -father of Gothic architecture 1081-1151

Suger at the age of 10, came to the Abbey of St.-Denis. He became an Oblate, in 1091, for his education in religion. The Abbey church of St. Denis was established in the late 5th C., to house the relics of St. Denis, a bishop martyred on his mission to convert the Gauls in the 3rd C. Here, at the Abbey, he met the future king Louis VI of France. An epitaph conveys the iron will of Abbot Suger, ‘he was small in physical and social stature, driven by his double smallness, refused, in his smallness, to be small’. Suger served as the friend and counselor for both of Louis VI and Louis VII. He travelled extensively, and had a special relationship with the pope, bishops and kings, serving as adviser to Louis VI and Louis VII.

2 The city and memorable abbey of Saint Denis -Claude Chastillon

Suger became a secretary to the abbot of Saint-Denis, then became provost of Berneval in Normandy and Toury, in 1118. His contacts with Louis VI helped him to go to the court of Pope Gelasius II at Maguelonne (at Montpellier, Gulf of Lyon). He also lived at the court of Calixtus II, as the successor of Gelasius. On his return from Maguelonne, Suger became Abbot of St-Denis. During the following decade, he devoted himself to the reorganization and reform of St-Denis. He began reconstructing the old building in 1135. From 1140 to 1144, ‘in three years, three months and three days’, as he put it, he built a new Chevet.

3 Facade, Basilica of St. Denis flickr image 7227720278

Abbot Roger was a clever politician and smart manager, who used his church position to promote the abbey in public, and thereby enhanced the power of the monarchy. ‘His knowledge of the law, skill for political negotiations, influential contacts and oratory skills’, were his assets. Suger needed political clout and huge amounts to build such a structure. He was the favoured person of the king. He was consulted for many other things by the French state. He oversaw the royal administration, when the King Louis VII was absent on the Crusades. King appointed him to serve as the Regent of France.

4 City Map of St Denis cathedral in Paris

Suger was the coordinator or convener of the rebuilding project for the abbey. He was not an architect, but an extra ordinary organizer. He had keen sense of judgement in arts and crafts. There were two architects or master masons, who were technical leaders, but their contributions remain anonymous.

5 City Map of St Denis cathedral in Paris Flicker 43745509662_32fddd29b8_c

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2 ABOUT ABBEY of ST DENIS —

6 Plan of Abbey of st Denis showing original structure with multiple alterations in stages

The site of Abbey of St.-Denis is identified as a Gallo-Roman cemetery of the Roman times. Around, 475 AD. St. Genevieve purchased some land, and built Saint-Denys de la Chapelle. In 636 AD., the relics of Saint Denis (also known as Saint Dionysius), the patron saint of France, were re-interned in the basilica.

7 Saint Denis church, plan various stages of developments

9 St Ddenis image on facade of Notre Dame-cathedral Paris holding his head in hands

8 Louis VII (1120-1180) the Young, King of France Taking the Banner in St. Denis in 1147 - ART by Jean Baptiste Mauzaisse (1784-1844)

The Basilica of St Denis ranks as an architectural landmark and as the first major structure of which a substantial part was re-designed and built in the Gothic style. Both stylistically and structurally, it heralded the change from Romanesque architecture to Gothic architecture. H.W. Janson wrote, ‘The origin of previous style cannot be pinpointed exactly, as the Gothic. It was born between 1137 and 1144 with the rebuilding of the Royal Abbey Church of Saint-Denis by Abbot Suger. Before the term ‘Gothic’ came into common use, it was known as the ‘French Style’ (Opus Francigenum). (The word ‘Gothic’ was first used during the Renaissance period, as an insult, as relating to the uncivilized ancient Goths, Germanic-people documented living near lower Vistula River).

 

10 Map of the tombs in Saint Denis Basilica

https://uk.tourisme93.com/basilica/map-of-the-tombs-saint-denis-basilica.html

The basilica of Saint-Denis, like many other Christian religious places, was popular for pilgrimage in 12th C. Many churches of Romanesque style of architecture, with their solid forms and barely adequate openings, were suffocating places in warm seasons. It was difficult to manage the large crowds in limited and zoned space. For this reason many processions and festivities were organized out doors. But the crowds wished to visit the crypts that held the remains of the past kings and saints of France.

Abbot Suger

Paris was the principal residence of the Kings and of The Reims Cathedral was used as the place of coronation, and the Abbey of Saint-Denis has been the ceremonial burial place. The visitations by royalty for public adulation helped get support for the church expenses. They lavishly supported the construction and enlargement of abbeys and cathedrals. Suger showed that collaboration between church and state is fundamental to an understanding of the development of the national states of Western Europe.

14 Typical heavy walled - opaque structure of Romanesque Architectre of 11 C Abbaye de Lessay Manche, France, (departement de la Manche) Wikipedia Image Ji-Elle

12 Antoine - Louis - Francois - Sergent - Marceau Portrait of Suger Abbot of St Dennis


3 ABBOT SUGER and POPULAR CHANGES

15 Abbot Suger Stained Glass image

Suger on assuming the post of Abbot was almost ready with a scheme to redevelop the entire estate of Basilica of St Denis. That included not only the church itself, but also a new refectory, dormitory and domus hospitium (guesthouse like a dormitory) and other structures across the grounds of the abbey. Abbot Suger wanted crowds to participate and fund the redevelopment of the abbey. He had to convince the people and the royalty that larger spaces and better environments for gatherings are required. He knew, the abbey was just too important a national identity and just cannot be demolished to the foundation level for reconstruction. He also had to stay away from sacrosanct areas like the crypt holding the remains of the past kings of France. He planned his project in several plausible phases. He had the foresight that for a project of this nature will need many crafts-persons will be required, and will need to be enticed from far-off places.

16 The crypt at St. Denis httpswww.flickr.comphotosscottgunn288571007

17 The violation of the royal tombs in 1793 French Revolution depicted by Hubert Robert

18 Oldest tombs in Underground crypt Basilique de Saint-Denis destroyed during French Revolution https www.flickr.com photos o_0 30624049031

The West side of the church was about 200 years old, and had only one small entrance door. Suger planned three wide doors to handle large crowds. These doors were like the arches on Constantine in Rome. Early Christian and Byzantine basilicas and churches had such entrance or lobby space, and Sugar adopted the idea. He first took up the building of a new Narthex and entrance Facade, with two towers and a rose window in the centre. The rose window was a first one in France. This was an impressive and a populist step. After Abbot Suger’s death, however, when the rest of the church was rebuilt in a new style, it was provided with extra larger and more decorated rose windows, one on either side.

19 The St Denis Abbey Twin tower of West end was never built fully and the Left one was damaged several times

After the alteration and extension of the West side, It was easy to find sponsors with substantial support. Next, he began to change the East end. Here, Sugar began to implement ideas about illumination. He wanted the space around the altar to be spatially wide and tall. He wanted it to be very light and bright, with the provisions of coloured glass windows. The light and bright East end was ‘given to God’ in 1144. These were well appreciated, and within decades this ‘inventive intervention’ spread throughout all of Europe, where it dominated the architecture for the next two to three hundred years. In the 12th C, Abbot Suger rebuilt portions of the abbey church using innovative structural and decorative features. In doing so, he is said to have created the first truly Gothic building.

20 The NAVE looking towards the westside Entrance, St. Denis httpswww.flickr.comphotosscottgunn 28857102257

22 Choir, Basilica of St. Denis Abbot Suger, Ambulatory, 1140-44, Basilica of St. Denis, Paris https www.flickr.com photos profzucker 7227722006

The pair of towers on the west-side were planned under Suger, however only the southern tower was completed in his lifetime. Its taller northern counterpart, was completed by one of his successors, however, did not last. It was rebuilt twice. Suger saw the completion of the western and eastern ends of the abbey. By the time abbot died in 1151, the foundations for the new nave were executed. Work for the Nave with upper works of the Choir resumed in 1231. In 281 the nave was completed. The massive windows and slender masonry were a trend setting Rayonnant Gothic style.

23 A Flicker Image 7227722006_7f5de4a4e2_c

The ground plan of most Gothic churches is typically a cross, formed by a long Nave and crossing it, a shorter Transept. It is this junction that offers a spacious volume. The nave usually has multiple floors on either sides, forming passageways or aisles. The Nave, after the cross junction terminates into a semi-circular or polygonal Eastern end. This liturgical end with the altar is tallest space with many varieties of roof structure. Visually the extensive tall surface being circular or polygonal, competes with the altar for attention. The cross form of the church created four focal areas. Each of these had different size, shape, scale and orientations. Suger had learnt from existing church buildings the purpose of these basic four spaces.

24 At the crossing looking north, St. Denis httpswww.flickr.comphotosscottgunn43745511772

25 Cathedral schematic Cross plan

26 Saint Denis church, plan the old & New schemes superimposed It shows how new columns were placed besides the existing ones

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