Basilique Saint-Denis (Basilique Saint-Denis) is considered to be the first pattern of Western European architecture. It was erected whenthe Gothic style came into fashion in France. The greatest flourishing of the abbey occurred at the time of the Abbe Scuderia. Due to him,in 1137-1144 the monastery church was built.It was the first Gothic building, which influenced the development of Gothic architecture in France.
At the beginning of the XIII century king Louis IX ordered the saint to transfer to the Basilica of his predecessors and create a tombstone for them. From that moment the church served as the tomb of French kings. The abbey, where almost all the kings of France, as well as members of their families,are buried, are often called the "royal necropolis of France."
The western facade of the basilica, with two towers (the north tower, unfortunately, collapsed in 1837), three portraits decorated with sculpture and the high window "Stained glass of Saint Denis" are an excellent example of the construction of other churches in the Gothic style. Basilique Saint-Denis has pointed arches and ribbet vaults. Initially, the basilica in the Romanesque style was erected without a transept. Only with the appearance of Gothic, Architects build cathedrals with a transept (transverse nave). It was necessary to add the transept to increase the space in front of the altar, because often the basilica could not accommodate all believers. For the first time architectes tried "flying buttresses" at basilique-Saint-Denis, and than for this model, were built many Gothic churches. Sugerius came up with the location of historical and biblical scenes on stained-glass and a stained-glass rose - a round window above the main entrance of the temple, which later became a canon. The stained-glass windows of the abbey are united in cycles with one plot. One of them tells about the events of the First Crusade and the other - about the visit to the Holy Land by Charles the Great. The structural basis of the basilica is a framework of pillars and leaning arches resting on them. As for the sculptures of the western facade, they were restored several times in different years. In the left portal there are only signs of the Zodiac and capitals of large columns, in the central portal there are a tympanum, four archivolts, capitals of large columns and figures of wise and unintelligent virgins.
This architectural structure is called the legend of Paris. We can observe the typical Gothic structure of the abbey.It is very similar to the most of the basilicas built in the 12th century. But the sculpture and interior of the basil makes this building unique. The Abbey impresses the public with its grandeur and detail, in which not only the biblical motifs are read, but also the history of Paris as a whole.
This is a very impressive place, because besides the building of the basilica you can see the burials of the French royalty. This basilica is in excellent condition, still there are spreading services, which many believers gather. So, too, very often here people make movies, because it is a beautiful background.
Smarthistory at Khan Academy, 2012. "Birth of the Gothic: Abbot Suger and the Ambulatory at St. Denis".
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