Saint-Denis (Saint-Denis [Paris], France) : Stained Glass in Chevet and Ambulatory (Saint-Denis [Paris], France) : 19th century glass, closer view

Suger, Abbot of Saint-Denis, ca. 1081-1151
near Paris, Saint-Denis, Île-de-France, France
ca. 1140-1850 (inclusive)
Date Depicted:
500 AD - 1499 AD
stained glass
Little remains of the abbey's important and influential medieval glazing. The windows of the Rayonnant choir and nave, probably the most important 13th-century ensemble in the Paris region before the glazing of the Sainte-Chapelle, were destroyed in the Revolution. They are documented only in a sketch, one of a series (Compiègne, Mus. Mun. Vivenel) made in 1794-1795 by Charles Percier, and the reliability of even this has been challenged (Lillich). Despite the effects of the Revolution and a series of 19th-century restorations, more glass, and better documentation, survive from the ambulatory of Suger's 12th-century church, enabling some evaluation of the significance of this glazing within the history of medieval art. Glazing played an unprecedentedly influential role in the design of Suger's church, especially in the ambulatory. Here for the first time stained glass became an important feature, perhaps the most important feature, of an architectural environment. In Suger's record of his administration, some of his most rhapsodic commentary praises the pervasiveness of coloured light in the building. He describes the manner in which the choir shone 'with the wonderful and uninterrupted light of most sacred windows, pervading the interior beauty' (Panofsky, p. 101). Suger admired the windows not principally for their beauty but for the way in which their luminosity could help the viewer to approach God through the contemplation of light.
Variant Titles:
Abbey Church of Saint-Denis
Abbaye de Saint-Denis
Basilique de Saint-Denis
Basilica of St. Denis
Architecture -- France -- 13th century -- (YVRC)
Gothic (Medieval)
Nineteenth century
Accession Number:
churches (AAT)
stained glass (AAT)
Content Type:
Sculptures, Models, & Architecture
Copyright Scott Gilchrist, Archivision, Inc
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Access Restrictions:
Yale Community Only
cycles or series; decorative arts; New Testament; Old Testament and Apocrypha stained glass visual works; stained glass (visual works) window: stained glass
Source Creator:
Gilchrist, Scott
Source Title:
Archivision Module Two
Source Created:
2878 Chamonix, Montreal QC
Archivision, Inc.
Source Note:
Purchase, Visual Resources Collection, May, 2011; photographer Scott Gilchrist
Yale Collection:
Visual Resources Collection
Digital Collection:
Visual Resources Collection
Local Record Number: