Saint-Denis, abbey church exterior (c.1140 and 1231 onwards)

Saint-Denis, abbey church exterior (c.1140 and 1231 onwards)


St Denis exterior.jpg


*Basilique Saint-Denis originated as a small chapel at the graveyard of Saint Denis in five century. *After seven century, the Merovingian era (486-751) of Frankish kingdom, Basilique Saint-Denis became the royal abbey church. *The third Basilique Saint-Denis was rebuilt in 775 of Carolingian era. *Abbot Suger (1081-1151) began to reconstruct the church in 1137, completed west facade and narthex in the 1140 and completed choir in 1144. He continued to reconstruct the nave but he died in 1151 before finished it. *It is said that the nave, including the upper part of the choir and transept, was reconstructed by probably Pierre de Montreuil (about 1200-67) and others (possibly one of those was Jean de Chelles; ?-1270) from 1231 to 1281. *Viollet-le-Duc (Eugene Emmanuel, 1814-79) repaired from 1836 to 1846. The north tower (before 1129) was removed by Viollet-le-Duc after 1847 because of the differential settlement during the repairing (1836-46). *”Gothic art had started with two monasteries and ended two monasteries.” (Henri Focilon) Saint-Denis is one of those and the other is Cathedral Sens (about 1135-68). *Many original form of the Gothic style is found in Saint-Denis. One of the most important things is the structural innovations such as cross rib vault and flying buttresses. But cross rib vault was found before Saint-Denis nor flying buttresses perfected later. *Saint-Denis was a beginning of the luminous choir by Suger, symbol of the glace of God. *The south tower follows the Romanesque models developed in Normandy. *The tower was built in about 1148. *Cross rib vault was found in Anglo-Norman Cathedral during eleventh to twelfth century such as Durham (England) and Winchester (England) and abbey church of Lessay (France). *One of the firstest appearance of flying buttresses are abbey church of Cluny (about 1130) and the Cathedral of Sens (12c.).

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