25. ST. DENIS.
decided to build on a more magnificent scale, discarding all but the
crypt and a few columns of the former structure. Suger's building
marks the beginning of the Gothic tendency in architecture, the
development of which from the Romanesque style can, to a certain
extent, be traced here. In the facade round and pointed arches alter¬
nate , whereas in the other portions Gothic arches only are found.
The choir, consecrated in 1144, is surrounded by radiating chapels,
a feature of the Romanesque style, and at the same time exhibits
the Gothic buttress-system in an advanced stage of development.
A thorough restoration, necessitated by the instability of the found¬
ations and also by a fire, was carried out from 1230 onwards by
the abbots Eudes Clement and Mathieu de Venddme, whose leaning
to the Gothic style was still more marked. The upper part of the
choir, the whole of the nave, and the transept were entirely rebuilt.
During the 14th cent, additional chapels were erected in the N.
aisle and in the E. wall of the S. transept. St. Louis (d. 1270) was
the first to erect monuments to his ancestors in the choir, and it
became the custom to raise a memorial in the sacred edifice to every
king on his death. The honour was afterwards extended to princes
and other illustrious persons. Under the Revolution the cathedral
was sacked and the tombs were desecrated (1792-93). The costly
restorations effected by Napoleon I., Louis XVIIL, and Louis
Philippe were in had taste; but under Napoleon III., who in 1859
entrusted the work of restoration to Viollet-le-Duc, one of the
greatest Gothic architects of modern times, it regained much of its
The West Facade formed part of the building consecrated by
Abbot Suger in 1140. It contains three recessed portals decorated
with sculptures, which, however, were freely and somewhat un¬
skilfully restored in the 19th century. Those of the central portal
represent the Last Judgment, and the Wise and Foolish Virgins;
those of the S. portal, St. Denis in prison, after a painting in
the Louvre (p. 138), and the Months; and those of the N. portal,
St. Denis on his way to Montmartre and the signs of the Zodiac.
The bronze doors are all modern. The battlements along the top of
the facade were erected for defensive purposes during the 14th cen¬
tury. Behind them rises the high-pitched roof of the nave, sur¬
mounted by a statue of St. Denis. On the right and left are two
towers, one of which (the left) does not rise higher than the battle¬
ments. — The statues of princes and the Martyrdom of St. Denis on
the portal of the N. transept are in better preservation.
The Interior consists of nave and aisles, crossed by a simple
transept. Length 354 ft., breadth 130 ft. The dim twilight of the
Vestibule, which dates from Suger's time and is borne by heavy
columns, forms a striking contrast to the airy and elegant Nave
of the 13th cent., with its slender columns, its triforium, and its
thirty-seven large windows, each 33 ft. high. The stained glass