Suger vs. Clairvaux

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November 08, 2013

Suger vs. Clairvaux

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November 08, 2013
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  1. The  Precarious  Place  of  Art   in  the  Medieval  World

        Suger,  Abbot  of  St.  Denis,  “Of  the  Church’s   Ornaments”  from  De  Administra-one  and   Bernard,  Abbot  of  Clairvaux,  “On  Gold  and   Silver  Images  in  Monasteries”  from   Apologia.    
  2. Clairvaux  vs.  Suger   Nave,  Fontenay  Abbey,  France,   1139-­‐1147.

      Ambulatory  and  Apse  Chapel,  Abbey   Church  of  St.  Denis,  France,  1140-­‐1144.  
  3. Piety   “Further  we  caused  the   actual  receptacles  of

     the   holy  bodies  to  be  enclosed   with  gilded  panels  of  cast   copper  and  with  polished   stones,  fixed  close  to  the   inner  stone  vaults…in  such  a   manner,  however,  that   reverend  persons,  as  was   fiTng,  might  be  able  to  see   them  with  great  devoUon   and  a  flood  of  tears.”   “Money  is  won  with  such   skill  that  it  may  be   mulUplied.    It  is  expended   so  that  it  may  be  increased,   and  pouring  it  out   produces  abundance.    The   Reason  is  that  the  very   sight  of  these  costly  but   wonderful  illusions   inflames  the  men  more  to   give  than  to  pray.”   ~Clairvaux   ~Suger  
  4. Idolatry   “We  profess  that  we   must  do  homage

      through  the  outward   ornaments  of  sacred   vessels,  and  to  nothing   in  the  world  in  an  equal   degree  to  the  service  of   the  Holy  Sacrifice,  with   all  inner  purity  and  with   all  outward  splendor.”     “To  me  [golden  images]   somehow  represent  the   ancient  rite  of  the   Jews…  Or  is  it  that  since   we  have  been  mingled   with  the  genUles,   perhaps  we  have  also   adopted  their  ways  and   even  serve  their  idols.”   ~Clairvaux   ~Suger  
  5. Money   “You  could  see  how   kings,  princes,  and

     many   outstanding  men,   following  our  example,   took  the  rings  off  the   fingers  of  their  hands   and  ordered,  out  of  love   for  the  Holy  Martyrs,   that  the  gold,  stones,   and  precious  pearls  of   the  rings  put  into  this   panel.”     “O  vanity  of  vaniUes,  but  no   more  vain  than  insane!    The   Church  is  radiant  in  its  walls   and  desUtute  in  its  poor.    It   dresses  its  stones  in  gold   and  it  abandons  its  children   naked.    It  serves  the  eyes  of   the  rich  at  the  expense  of   the  poor.    The  curious  find   that  which  may  delight   them,  but  those  in  need  do   not  find  that  which  should   sustain  them.”     ~Clairvaux   ~Suger  
  6. Big  QuesUon:  Are  golden  images  more   harmful  than  good

     to  the  devout?