Gothic Cathedrals

1079 Words 5 Pages
In this chapter of Murray’s book, he examines gothic cathedrals as objects of desire and the relationships between these objects and their agents of its creation. Using Saint Denis as its main example, Murray uses the writings of three principle agents: the ecclesiastical patron, artisans and financers. For his example of Saint Denis, he focused on the writings, illustrations, and correspondence of Abbot Suger, Gervase of Canterbury, and Villard de Honnecourt. He begins by reflecting on how a cathedral can be an object of desire and really delves into its relationship to pilgrimages. He references specific images within S-Denis where the themes of religious desire are prevalent. Murray talks about the importance of Cathedrals to each agent …show more content…
I have always known that cathedrals were made to be the sight of a pilgrimage, but I had never considered the idea of them needing to be grand and impressive for this same purpose. I have also failed to appreciate the economic influence pilgrimages would have on the local community and how it was in the town’s self interest to promote their cathedral as a destination for a pilgrimage. On a personal note, having taken part in a pilgrimage in the past, I now find myself recalling what I encountered during my journey and the social and economic connections to what I …show more content…
She especially focuses on themes of burial and outreach. She looks at how mendicant churches reflect not a “product” but rather a “process.” This is due to the additive and step-by-step approach to their creation. Because these churches relied on donations from lay men to survive, they could only expand or alter their space when the financial support was available. Friars focused a great deal on the power of penitence and the importance of shortening one’s time in Purgatory. In order to save one’s soul from this anguish, it was encouraged to include donations to the local mendicant churches in one’s will and testament to ensure they have a short stay in Purgatory. These donations where often given with the caveat that the deceased be buried within church walls. While secular clergy would not allow such a practice, the mendicant churches saw this as an opportunity to secure financial support and expand their churches. This led to great tension between secular clergy and the friars, but it also led to architectural changes within the churches

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