[log in to unmask] wrote:
>One might add to this list the ascerbic comments of Peter Kidson, "Panofsky,
Suger and St. Denis," Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld
Institutes, L (1987), 1-17.
i didn't realise that Kidson might have been at the roots of the late 20th c.
"revisionism" of St. Suger (if, indeed, he was).
>Suger is increasingly being seen as a brilliant administrator, rather than a
an interesting and historiographically ironic turn of events.
a good hunk of the problem, as i see it, through some very dark glasses, is
that the _de Administratione_ (so called: not a contemporary title, as i
understand it) is a curious sort of _apologia_, i assume precipitated --at
least in part-- by some internal criticism of Father Abbot's profligate
spending and reflective of, perhaps, some internal divisions between factions
among the chapter of St. Denis itself (plus, or themselves perhaps reflective
of, other, exterior "political" circumstances).
the initial chapters of the work --which Panofsky (whose intent was almost
entirely Art Historical) negelected to re-publish and translate-- make this
rather clear, though perhaps not explicitly. and, they are a real eye-opener
into the hot-house world of the 12th c. Monastic Administrator, with several
very telling vignettes of Life Among the Hoi Poloi and their Betters.
>Conrad Rudolph, in his book on Artistic Change at Saint-Denis, shifts much of
the responsibility for "Suger's" iconography at Saint-Denis onto the able
shoulders of Hugh of St Victor.
without knowing squat about Rudolph's arguments --nor having any reason
whatever to question them-- i would have to note that there's always the
danger here of the pendulum swinging a bit too far the other direction and St.
S. being stripped too bare of his mantle of innovative brilliance.
the choir of St. Denis is, after all, a *really* remarkable, stunningly
beautiful bit of work and *some*one was responsible for it's creation.
if Suger didn't exist, we'd have to invent him, it seems to me.
it's just that making him and his creation *THE* Fountainhead of All Things
Gothic Forever After might be going a lil bit too far.
the basic, fundamental problem, as i see it, is that our ability to "resolve"
the on-the-ground Historical (much less Art Historical or even Theological)
Reality of the first half of the 12th century is determined by the amount of
reliable data we can generate and bring to bare on any given set of problems.
and, while that set is growing by the decade (and, perhaps, increasing
geometrically, as more is acquired), we still just don't know *much*, compared
to what that universe actually looked like as it was sucking itself out of its
the key lies (1) in the best scholars in their seperate disciplines applying
the best tools in those disciplines to the problem and (b) their constantly
comparing notes and cross fertilizing each other.
best to all from here,
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