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Edifier : les enjeux de la création architecturale dans les stratégies de promotion de la sainteté (XIe-XIIIe siècle)

Abstract : The double meaning of the word edificare is well known : monks or canons built their churches to build the sanctity of their protectors and founders, real or supposed. The command of a vita and a new building are often contemporaneous ; so we are tempted to date the building from the time of the hagiographic sources. I propose to point out several cases that reveal such a coincidence, from the blossoming of Romanesque architecture to the Gothic period. But first, it is necessary to raise some epistemological issues, as the misreading of the rich medieval liturgical (or commemorative) arrangements set without any stonework. At the beginning of the eleventh century, western towers (St-Mexme at Chinon, Lesterps) demonstrate the real presence of the local saint, at the very time of the command for their vitae. Ambulatories with radiating chapels assume the same meaning. Sometime (Le Dorat), this architectural feature was chosen to forge a saint by suggesting a pilgrimage. At Clairvaux, c. 1153, we can note the parallelism between the writings of different stages of the vita, that would be acceptable for the canonising trial, and the building of a mausoleum like chevet to surround Bernard's tomb. After 1174, Christchurch at Canterbury represents Thomas Becket himself by its chevet or caput, because of the corona that symbolizes both the reward for the martyrdom and the clerical tonsure. In the middle of the thirteenth century, the Cistercians from Rievaulx (Yorkshire) as well as those from Les Châtelliers (Poitou) enlarged their churches with a square chevet ended by a cliff elevation : we must understand that form as a monumental evocation of the great contemporaneous shrines.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 10:54:51 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, February 16, 2021 - 12:26:02 PM


  • HAL Id : halshs-00726174, version 1



Claude Andrault-Schmitt. Edifier : les enjeux de la création architecturale dans les stratégies de promotion de la sainteté (XIe-XIIIe siècle). Actes de colloque, Sep 2008, Poitiers, France. pp.315-346. ⟨halshs-00726174⟩



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