FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE IN ABBOT SUGER’S REFLECTIONS ON THE MAIN ALTAR OF SAINT-DENIS: COLORS AND GEMS, MATERIALITY AND LIGHT
|Článek v odborném periodiku
|Časopis / Zdroj
|Fakulta / Pracoviště MU
|Link to the homepage of the result
|Abbot Suger; medieval allegory; Saint-Denis; altar; liturgical furnishings; metaphysical pansemiosis; Umberto Eco; pseudo-Dionysius
|Abbot Suger, in De Administratione, invites his readers to consider the precious materials adorning the altar of Saint-Denis from an allegorical perspective. His metaphors encompass the liturgical furnishings of the altar as well as the colors of its gems, stones, and precious metals. Suger also refers to matter and light, and the ascent from what is material towards what is immaterial. The “anagogic” function of polychrome gems, as described by Suger, is rooted in the neoplatonic ideas of pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, whose ideas were also the basis for John Scotus Eriugena’s concept of theophany. This article thoroughly analyzes the symbolic and allegorical language in Abbot Suger’s writings and reconnects them with the figurative language used in Medieval Latin culture: the typological, encyclopedic, and liturgical allegories, as well as metaphysical pansemiosis. Suger’s references to specific theoretical and textual passages in the writings of Eriugena and Hugh of St.Victor will be identified. Finally, an analysis will be made of the altars at Saint-Denis and related liturgical furnishings, using Suger’s descriptions, other written and figurative sources, and the few material fragments preserved. Specific attention will be paid to the allegorical interpretation of colors and precious materials, including the cryptic materia saphirorum.