Analysis of The Basilica of St. Denis Essay

Analysis of The Basilica of St. Denis Essay

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Ziggy Marley once said, “God is like the sun. When the sun shines, it shines for everyone. God is for everyone.” In the same way, Abbot Suger built the Basilica of St. Denis so that sunlight would flood throughout the building and symbolize the power of God inviting visitors into the cathedral. The Basilica of St. Denis was an artistic response to the rise of the Catholic Church’s power for it was modeled to be a physical representation of heaven, which the church heavily preached upon. (Thesis) As the basilica represented the shift from Romanesque architecture to Gothic, Abbot Suger introduced new techniques that transformed cathedrals to look more spacious and “heavenly”. (Map Statement #1-Art History) By allowing sunlight to come through the large windows, Abbot Suger instilled the Neo-Platonic idea that the sun was the physical representation of God. (Map Statement #2 –Philosophy) Also, at that time, the church was rising in power, so the new structural style of the basilica brought more converts and eventually more power to the church. (Map Statement #3 –Social Institutions) [Insert Literature Map Statement] The Basilica of St. Denis was built so that worshippers would be in awe of the “heaven-like” setting, which would cause more people to declare their faith to God and to the church.
The Basilica of St. Denis was originally built in 500-599 AD, but was later reconstructed by Abbot Suger in c.1135-1144. Although its original architect is unknown, it is most famous for its reconstruction that was overseen by Abbot Suger (Panofsky). This basilica is also well known for its representation of Europe’s architectural shift from the Romanesque style to Gothic. The Gothic style brought new designs and was dubbed the “transformat...


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... beauty and light in the building, they realized that the church must really hold the key to salvation, for they were able to construct a place so similar to the afterlife that many people longed for. It seemed almost as if Abbot Suger had visited heaven and created a physical representation in the Basilica of St. Denis.
[Insert Literature Section]
The Basilica of St. Denis contributed to the rise of the Catholic Church, for it provided a physical representation of the “Holy Jerusalem”, for many people to see. By viewing this representation of heaven, many people reestablished their faith into the church and longed for salvation, so that they can be accepted into the “spiritual heaven” after their death. This desperate attempt to gain salvation caused individuals to devote themselves to the church, which brought the Catholic Church leverage, power, and wealth.

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