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Analysis Of The Saint Chappelle

1360 words - 5 pages

What would’ve happened if Greco-Roman culture had disappeared in the middle ages? The Muslims wouldn’t have gained all of their great knowledge and the rest of the world, especially Europe, would have been completely different. The Muslims golden age caused Europe to enter into an era of reason, which would change the Catholic Church forever. This golden age was what culturally awoke Western Europe and what established a new style of architecture that would dominate Europe cathedrals far into the future. The Saint-Chappelle, a Gothic Style cathedral commissioned by Louis IX, represents the rise of a changed church as it uses reason and logic found in scholasticism to create beautiful pieces of architecture.
The Saint-Chappelle was influenced by the first Gothic Church, built between 1132 and 1144, which was the St. Dennis Abbey near Paris (Anderson 12). The Saint- Chappelle was commissioned by Louis IX, who was king of France at the time. Louis IX was born in 1214, but wouldn’t take thrown until 1246 when he was twelve. Unusually young for king, his mother Blanche de Castille, assisted him until he was old enough to rule on his own. He was the only king to become a Saint, as he was known by his people as a sincere, kind, and generous man. To help Baldwin II of Jerusalem get out of debt, Louis IX bought holy relics, such as the Crown of Thorns, Holy Cross fragments, and torture instruments (Rebaud 5). At one point, the St. Chappelle help as many as 22 relics of the Passion of the Christ (Clemen 7). In fact, the initial purpose of the St. Chappelle was to house the holy relics (Howgrave 12). However, the “St. Chappelle was a result of Louis IX’s political ambition to be the central monarch of western christendom.” (“Saint”). The money, 135,000 pounds or 220,347 dollars, was sent immediately to the Venetians whom Baldwin II was in debt to. After the Crown of Thorns arrived in 1239, Louis IX needed a magnificent place to house the Holy Relics. This exemplifies the bond between the Holy Relics and the monarchy, thus the St. Chappelle was also a piece of propaganda, uniting the nation under one king and one religion. Unfortunately, building the cathedral would take longer than Louis IX would hope. It was planned in 1241, started in 1246, and finished April 28, 1248. Construction was put off for multiple reasons: First, the relics were continuing to be shipped in and additionally, Louis IX was leading his army to stop a rebellion led by Henry III who wanted reconquer land in France. However, the completion of the cathedral would strengthen christianity even further as it symbolized the day that Constantine legalized Christianity in 313 AD (Architecture).
Due to Louis IX being so busy, he hired multiple architects and designers to overlook the construction and planning of the project. While the architect of the St. Chappelle isn’t completely known, French tradition states that the architect is Pierre de Montreuil (Bayliss). While not much is known...

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