Artistic Integration in Gothic Buildings

Artistic Integration in Gothic Buildings

Virginia Chieffo Raguin
Kathryn Brush
Peter Draper
Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 348
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442671041
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    Artistic Integration in Gothic Buildings
    Book Description:

    In this collaborative work seventeen international scholars use contemporary methodologies to address the ways in which we understand Gothic church buildings today. Artistic Integration in Gothic Buildings discusses major monuments that have traditionally stood at the core of medieval art-historical studies: the cathedrals of Durham, Wells, Chartres, Reims, Poitiers, Strasbourg, and Naumburg, the abbey of Saint-Denis, and the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris. The contributors approach the subject from different specialties and methodologies within the field of art history, as well as from the disciplines of history, liturgical studies, and theology.

    Willibald Sauerl)nder's overview acknowledges that since the early nineteenth century scholars have been confronted with monuments that no longer perform their original functions. The moment of the creation of these great cages of stone, filled with images in metal, paint, glass, stone, and textiles, has passed as surely as Villon's `snows of yesteryear.' Artistic intentions shifted continuously over the centuries as these great buildings were adapted to new situations, historical, cultural, and religious. Once the settings for complex and diversified rituals of religious, social, and political dimensions, the buildings today stand in a completely different time frame and are experienced by a different audience. This volume addresses the hermeneutics of the development of scholarship concerning the Gothic church, reviewing the variable, but largely exclusive, agendas from the early nineteenth century to the present, including those of Viollet-le-Duc, Lef¦vre-Pontalis, M+le, Sedlmayr, Von Simson, Panofsky, Grodecki, and Bony. The conclusion is that there is no way to return to the original Gothic cathedral or the original audience. Artistic Integration in Gothic Buildings reassesses the traditional canon through a new pluralism of approaches and presents the Gothic church as an intricate and complex living monument that has been evolving over eight centuries and more.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7104-1
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)
    Michael M. Sheehan

    If Raoul Glaber of the eleventh century had lived in Germany in the first generation after the Second World War, and if he had observed the hundreds of new churches that rose from the ruins, he might well have written that ″it was as if the whole earth, having cast off the old by shaking itself, were clothing itself everywhere with the white robe of the church.″ Those churches, delayed fruit of much reflection and experimentation during the twenty years before the war, were not only statements of sophisticated contemporary architecture and engineering, but also involved careful consideration of the...

  4. Preface The Editors
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. 1 Integration: A Closed or Open Proposal?
    (pp. 3-18)
    Willibald Sauerländer

    In the first years of this century, when the separataion of church and state was an issue of political dispute in France, socialist deputies in the French parliament went so far as to demand the secularization of all church buildings. Marcel Proust′s response eloquently defended the ecclesiastical status of the great French cathedrals. The novelist warned that the cathedrals, once despoiled of their liturgical functions, would soon become the object of a new kind of aesthetic élitism. ″Let us imagine that with Catholicism extinguished for centuries, the customs of the faith disappear... The cathedrals remain, however, ... despoiled and silent...

  6. 2 Integration or Segregation among Disciplines? The Historiography of Gothic Sculpture as Case-Study
    (pp. 19-40)
    Kathryn Brush

    In this essay I wish to consider the issue of ″integration″ in relation to the modern formation and development of medieval scholarship. Remarkably few synthetic or integrative views of Gothic have been proposed by medievalist scholars during the past hundred years. These would include the iconographicalsummaeof Emile Mâle and the phenomenologically oriented vision of the Gothic cathedral put forward by Hans Sedlmayr.¹ To these comprehensive explanatory systems, we could add those of Erwin Panofsky and Otto von Simson, who envisioned the Gothic cathedral as a kind ofGesamtkunstwerkgenerated by philosophical and theological thought of the twelfth and...

  7. 3 From Admirable Tabernacle to the House of God: Some Theological Reflections on Medieval Architectural Integration
    (pp. 41-56)
    Bernard McGinn

    In his sermon commenting on Psalm 41, Augustine analyses the psalm′s teaching on how we may attain a foretaste of heaven in this life (what today some would describe as mystical experience): ″When I was ′pouring out my soul above myself in order to attain my God′ (v. 5a), how did I accomplish this? ′I entered into the place of the tabernacle′ (v. 5b). Outside the place of the tabernacle, I will seek God erroneously. ′I entered into the place of the admirable tabernacle, even unto the house of God′ (v. 5c). Admire many things in the tabernacle ... for...

  8. 4 Liturgy and the Monument
    (pp. 57-68)
    Roger E. Reynolds

    Before we probe the integrating function of liturgy, we may address the role of our institutes as encouraging or impeding scholarly integration. The pressing issue of bridging the disciplines as we think of artistic integration has been at the heart of the founding of Toronto′s Institute of Mediaeval Studies. One of the founders of Toronto′s institute was Etienne Gilson, a distinguished philosopher. Early in his career he had seen that, to appreciate medieval philosophy correctly, one had to understand the culture of the Middle Ages globally, and to that end he realized the need for a multidisciplinary institute. He tried...

  9. 5 Durham Cathedral in the Gothic Era: Liturgy, Design, Ornament
    (pp. 69-83)
    Arnold Klukas

    The title of this volume,Artistic Integration in Gothic Buildings, presumes a search for unity, and therefore, a search for intentionality. From the various ways in which such a search can be pursued, we may begin with two seemingly opposed viewpoints represented by Christopher Brooke and Paul Crossley. In his homage to Edmund Bishop, Brooke writes: ″[Bishop] showed in a profound and convincing way that major elements in liturgical practice and church design are not due to whims of taste and fashion, but also express widely felt sentiments and attitudes; or, as I should put it, in every substantial variety...

  10. 6 Sugar′s “Completion” of Saint-Denis
    (pp. 84-91)
    Eric C. Fernie

    The twelfth-century abbey church of Saint-Denis is one of the most innovative buildings in the history of architecture. It was also one of the prime interests of Abbot Suger, who had dreamt of rebuilding it from his youngest days as a monk, and who devoted a substantial amount of time to it throughout the second half of his demanding working life. It is therefore not surprising that many scholars have seen Suger as the inventor of Gothic, a man with an architectural vision who would not be thwarted in his desire to express it, whatever the opposition to his demolition...

  11. 7 “The Recollection of the Past Is the Promise of the Future.” Continuity and Contextuality: Saint-Denis, Merovingians, Capetians, and Paris
    (pp. 92-113)
    William W. Clark

    Near the end of his reign, ca. 1130, Louis VI (1108–1137) became the first Capetian king to make his principal royal residence in Paris, which had only just begun to expand beyond the physical limits of the old Roman and Prankish (Merovingian) city.¹ Residence was followed almost immediately by selective royal patronage of the old religious foundations in and around Paris. This patronage of the oldest houses by Louis VI and his son and successor, Louis VII (1137–1180), seems to be a deliberate attempt to associate themselves with Clovis (482–511), the first king to make Paris his...

  12. 8 Interpreting the Architecture of Wells Cathedral
    (pp. 114-130)
    Peter Draper

    Historians concerned with style and formal analysis have long been open to the fundamental criticism that their methodology involves models of classification which belong to their own time and would have had little or no meaning for those responsible for the design of medieval buildings. Medieval historians concerned with iconography, on the other hand, have had to base their interpretations much more securely on evidence drawn from the Middle Ages. The concern of this essay is to suggest ways in which the conventional terminology of stylistic analysis might be replaced by an approach which is more closely related to medieval...

  13. 9 Chartres Cathedral as a Work of Artistic Integration: Methodological Reflections
    (pp. 131-152)
    Peter Kurmann and Brigitte Kurmann-Schwarz

    Perhaps more than any other medieval monument, Chartres cathedral (fig. 1) invites investigation as an integrated undertaking. Good fortune has preserved in large part the sculptural decoration, stained glass, and architectural polychromy of the interior.¹ Despite the monumental scale of the episcopal church, the period of construction was remarkably short and the few documents that have survived from this period allow us to establish both beginning and completion dates for thisGesamtkunstwerk.² We know that in 1194 a fire destroyed the earlier church.³ A document contained in the cartulary of the chapter indicates that the canons occupied the choir-stalls in...

  14. 10 Integrated Fragments and the Unintegrated Whole: Scattered Examples from Reims, Strasbourg, Chartres, and Naumburg
    (pp. 153-166)
    Willibald Sauerländer

    I feel compelled to begin this essay with some methodological reminders and reminiscences. In December 1961, I had my last conversation with the late Paul Frankl. The topic was the statue columns of the Royal Portal of the cathedral of Chartres. Frankl, deeply concerned with the problem of stylistic classification, debated the definition of the Chartrain statues as ″Late Romanesque″ or as ″Early Gothic.″ I can hear him still, concluding our conversation on a slightly ironic note: ″So, I see that Dr Sauerländer thinks the heads of these statues are Gothic while their bodies still seem Romanesque.″ This anecdote shows...

  15. 11 The Architectural and Glazing Context of Poitiers Cathedral: A Reassessment of Integration
    (pp. 167-194)
    Virginia Chieffo Raguin

    The city and the cathedral of Poitiers offer an unusually rich and accessible field for an analysis of artistic integration as an underlying principle of medieval construction. Integration, which I am here defining as synonymous with coherence, may be used as a guiding principle in our reading of a building and in our definition of design principles that allowed constructions to address their primary audiences, the populations that supported over extended periods of time these foci of communal urban activity.

    The city of Poitiers retains to a remarkable degree the physical structure of its Gallo-Roman past, an ideal elevated fortress...

  16. 12 The Sainte-Chapelle as a Capetian Political Program
    (pp. 195-213)
    Beat Brenk

    Hardly any other medieval monument presents so ideally an opportunity to explore issues of ideological, material, and formal integration as does the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris (figs 1 and 2). Architecture, stained glass, sculpture, enamel work, and liturgical vessels have been preserved to such an extent that it would seem we cannot but accept the challenge of simultaneous analysis. In the past, however, scholars specializing in architecture devoted themselves exclusively to the art of construction and building, those specializing in painting dealt only with painting, and so on. This approach, I feel, has hindered a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of...

  17. 13 Artistic Integration Inside the Cathedral Precinct: Social Consensus Outside?
    (pp. 214-235)
    Barbara Abou-El-Haj

    Integrating the fragmented categories (almost subdisciplines) under which Gothic building is conventionally discussed advances the analysis of concrete monuments and the physical space they occupy. However, we work not only on concrete monuments, but also within discursive and historiographical paradigms. Embedded in this project lurks an old art-historical disciplinary paradigm, one which speaks almost entirely for the builders and presumes for them a sphere of imaginative extravagance unconstrained by the social and material world in which these huge churches were erected and decorated. Taken on its own terms, artistic integration is in danger of becoming the aesthetic counterpoint to a...

  18. 14 Form as Social Process
    (pp. 236-248)
    Brigitte Bedos-Rezak

    In this essay, I propose to be ″emblematic of society″, and of history.¹ The normative technique of my craft dictates that in reconstructing the past I use its vestiges – among which we may count Gothic cathedrals – for their documentary content rather than for their physical and aesthetic appearance. While positing the form-content dyad as an inseparable entity, I consider its elements, one signifying, the other meaning, as having independent histories and contingent modes of interaction. An exclusive focus on morphology might imply that the cathedral was intended as an end in itself, instead of being a by-product of...

  19. 15 Artistic Integration in Gothic Buildings: A Post-Modern Construct?
    (pp. 249-261)
    Madeline H. Caviness

    The theme of this volume, or more specifically the concepts of ″artistic integration″ and of ″Gothic,″ have their own histories in our discipline. To assist in examining our own definitions I will attempt to look back, albeit schematically, at some prior moments to see whether or how these concepts were formulated at different times. It seems fitting to begin in the Middle Ages, even though I can provide little more than a fanciful digression in dealing with some of our terms.

    Would the title of this volume have meant anything to a learned audience at the University of Paris around...

  20. 16 Towards a Cultural Biography of the Gothic Cathedral: Reflections on History and Art History
    (pp. 262-274)
    Brigitte Bedos-Rezak

    When, in the nineteenth century, the architect Viollet-le-Duc and his colleagues undertook to restore French Gothic cathedrals, they were inspired by a specific mythic conception of the cathedral and of the circumstances of its creation. Swept by the powerful vision of Victor Hugo′sThe Hunchback of Notre Dame(Notre-Dame de Paris, 1831), they saw the cathedral as the monument of the people, a vibrant manifestation of popular creative power and spirituality. They also conceived of an ideal original state of the cathedral. In nineteenth-century thought, this ideal cathedral was seen as an intended edifice of thirteenth-century people, however imperfectly achieved...

  21. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 275-282)
  22. Illustrations
    (pp. 283-348)