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Abbot Suger on the Abbey Church of St. Denis and Its Art Treasures [Paperback]

Abbot Suger , Erwin Panofsky , Gerda Panofsky-Soergel
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1, 1979 0691003149 978-0691003146 2nd

This revised edition incorporates the additions and corrections recorded by Erwin Panofsky until the time of his death in 1968. Gerda Panofsky-Soergel has updated the commentary in the light of new material, and the bibliography that she has prepared reflects the scholarship on St.-Denis in the last three decades. She has obtained some additional and more recent photographs, and the illustrations include a new ground plan and a new section of the chevet of the Abbey Church, both drawn under the supervision of Sumner McKnight Crosby.

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Editorial Reviews


"Dr. Panofsky is to be congratulated on producing, for the first time in any modern language, the whole of Suger's writing on St.-Denis, an unparalleled historical, archaeological, and ecclesiological text, and one of the world's literary treasures, a central pillar of the twelfth-century renaissance. . . . This is a work of first-class importance, and destined to remain the standard edition for a long time to come."--The Burlington Magazine

Language Notes

Text: English, Latin (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; 2nd edition (May 1, 1979)
  • Language: English, Latin
  • ISBN-10: 0691003149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691003146
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #336,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Key Work on the History of Gothic Architecture December 22, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are interested in Gothic architecture and have been fortunate enough to be able to visit the northern outskirts of Paris where the grand St Denis basilica resides, you'll understand why this building has held such interest for both those who study the gothic architectural form and also those who simply admire the beauty and powerful of the style. St Denis looks a little old and, perhaps, decrepit, from a cursory front (western façade) view, but once one steps through the portal with the Seven Liberal Arts above and proceeds into the nave, the amazing beauty and emotionally powerful impact of the building becomes apparent. Go further eastward into the building to the choir and ambulatory, and you find yourself in a glass kaleidoscope of color and light which is matched perhaps nowhere except on the second floor of the Ste Chapelle in Paris. It's an experience not easily described in words, but one that countless of visitors and architectural historians have attempted with varying success. This 12th century Gothic masterpiece is simply one of the most stunning of a collection that already contains a star-studded list of entries (including Reims Cathedral, Amiens Cathedral, Notre Dame Cathedral, Ste Chapelle in Paris, and many others). If you are visiting in Paris, note, too, that reaching St. Denis is easy: you simply hop on the Metro line 13 and take north all the way to its second-to-last stop (station Basilique St Denis), walk two blocks, and you're there.

But there's something that the casual visitor might not be able to know, and that is that the St. Denis basilica is actually one of the starting points of what was later to become known as "Gothic" architecture.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Panofsky's Chalice Runneth Over!! April 26, 1998
By L
This is an OPUS MAGNUS of profound erudition! An indispensable must have for any student of Gothic Art & Architecture. From sheathed shafts thrusting upwards penetrating groin vaults to the most scholarly look nto this seminal figure in the Middle Ages, this text has it all! While certainly not a light read, it is a and important and pivotal work in the scholarship of the beginning of the Gothic era. It should be more readily available.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elementary reading for Gothic art admirers December 2, 2006
"This was precisely...what St. Bernard had thundered against...

No figure painting or sculpture...,gems, pearls, gold and silk were forbidden...

Suger, however, was frankly in love with splendor and beauty in every

conceivable form."

[On the Abbey Church of St. Denis]

One of the few early accounts on the gothic cathedral building. Introduction itself is worth the money. Mr. Panofsky is explaining political, social and personal influences that together with Suger's psychological traits led to the construction of what is supposed to be the first Gothic catedral - St. Denis. The keyword here is "influences" - do not expect to learn the construction process or anything of that kind. Account itself does not contains many construction details, but deserves your attention indeed. Kind regards, Mario.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Panofsky's translation of Abbot Suger's account of his administration of the Abbey of St. Denis in Paris is a classic, and gives you a good introduction to a side of the medieval world view you may not be familiar with. As Panofsky points out in his introduction, Suger likely wrote his account of the treasures he collected for St. Denis as a ripost to criticisms of excessive worldliness by his contemporary, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who voiced what one might think was a more typical medieval Christian rejection of such adoration of material beauty. And yet Suger is very much a medieval man, his view that the beauty of the materials used in the abbey mirror the beauty of heaven largely agreeing with the mystical theology of Pseudo-Dionysius. Suger's account along with his other writings portray a man who completely identified himself with the Church, his abbey, and the kingdom of France, and was more than a bit proud of all three. (My favorite part of the text is when he confesses his joy that certain travellers have told him that his abbey contained greater material beauty than the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople--quite a compliment in the twelfth century!)
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