by Jason Crow
Amsterdam University Press, 2024
Cloth: 978-94-6298-226-0 | eISBN: 978-90-485-3216-2

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Today, we perceive Gothic cathedrals as light-filled forms representing the sacred. The colored light projected from brightly-colored stained glass windows onto the walls and floors of these buildings suggests the presence of divinity. Suger (1081–1151CE), the abbot of the monastery of Saint-Denis, is credited with originating Gothic architecture. However, focus on form and structure has elided attention to the material out of which medieval churches were made. When Suger describes the early church he was replacing, he says that the gold and gems it contained beamed outwardly with a gleaming light that filled the eye. When he restored his church and filled it with the shining souls of his ecclesia, he repeated God’s divine act of creation. His restored church imitated the precious stones that could be shaped and polished to reveal divine light. By crafting stone, Suger fulfilled the divine plan to make heaven on earth.

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