Monday, August 24, 2015

Sainte-Chapelle, Ile-de-la-Cite, Paris, France

Sainte-Chapelle arising from the midst of the Palais de Justice on Ile-de-la-Cite.  The spire is a 19th century design by Viollet-le-Duc,
<http://mappinggothic.org/archmap/media/buildings/001000/1168/images/300/1168_00118_w.jpg>

West entrance to Sainte-Chapelle.  The lower story was the parish church for people living and working on Ile-de-la-Cite.  The upper entrance is for the king and court to enter the palatine chapel.
<http://mappinggothic.org/archmap/media/buildings/001000/1168/images/300/1168_00231_w.jpg >

The lower chapel was a parish church.
<http://mappinggothic.org/archmap/media/buildings/001000/1168/images/300/1168_00225_w.jpg>
 The eastern end (chevet) of the upper chapel of Sainte-Chapelle.
<http://mappinggothic.org/archmap/media/buildings/001000/1168/images/300/1168_00191_w.jpg>
The Jesse Tree window is the eastern lancet of a two lancet window with tracery above. Window J.
<http://mappinggothic.org/archmap/media/buildings/001000/1168/images/300/1168_00080_w.jpg>

     In the middle of the Palais de Justice on the Ile-de-la-Cite in the middle of the Seine River in the heart of Paris stands the Sainte-Chapelle.  This royal chapel was built between 1239 and 1248 by King Louis IX of France to house his growing collection of relics, especially the Crown of Thorns.   In 1239, Louis IX paid 135,000 livres to a consortium of Venetian merchants who acted as moneylenders. The Venetians had taken possession of the Crown of Thorns relic when Latin emperor of Constantinople, Baldwin II (ruled 1228-61), needed security for a loan of 12,135 gold hyperperi.  (The hyperperon was a gold coin of the Byzantine Empire weighing 4.45 grams and containing 20.5 carat gold.)  In 1241, Louis IX obtained other objects from Baldwin of Jerusalem. The list of items that Louis IX bought:
1. - A piece of the cross
2. - Blood of Christ
3. - The "nappies" of the infant Jesus
4 - Another piece of the cross
5. - Blood from a picture of Christ
6. - The chain
7. - Sacred cloth inserted in a picture (Mandylion)
8 - Stone from the tomb
9. - Milk of the Virgin Mary
10. - The spear
11. - A victorious cross
12. - The purple mantle
13. - The reed
14. - The sponge
15. - A part of the shroud (sudarii) in which Christ's body was wrapped in
the sepulcher
16. - The towel used to dry the Apostles' feet
17. - Moses’ rod
18. - A part of John the Baptist’s head
19. - St. Blas’[Blaise's] head
20. - St. Clement’s head
21. - St. Simeon’s head (Cesar Barta. The Shroud sent to Louis IX of France by Baldwin II, the Latin Emperor at Constantinople. <https://www.shroud.com/pdfs/n56part5.pdf>)

Peasants mowing hay from June in Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. Sainte-Chapelle is on the upper right.  Made about 1410-1489. 
<https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e9/Les_Tr%C3%A8s_Riches_Heures_du_duc_de_Berry_juin.jpg/371px-Les_Tr%C3%A8s_Riches_Heures_du_duc_de_Berry_juin.jpg >                 
     King Louis IX built his jewel of a chapel to house his collection of relics including the Passion relics that he may have intended to become a pilgrimage site.  It was built in what the 19th century art historians called the Rayonnant (radiating) style named for the radiating spoke in a rose window.  The masonry walls all by disappear, replaced with the red and blue jewel colors of stained glass.

     The chapel was built on two levels.  The lower chapel functioned as a parish church.  But the tall splendid upper chapel was a royal chapel for the use of the king and court. The stained glass windows feature many scenes of coronations.  One art historian has suggested that Louis IX, the most Christian of kings, intended the chapel as a pilgrimage site not for a saint but for the concept of sacred kingship,  The French king controlled only a fraction of modern day France directly.  About half the territory was controlled by others as fiefdoms, and England directly controlled south-west France.  So the cult of the king needed to be bolstered to strengthen the monarchy. (See: Meredith Cohen. The Sainte-Chapelle and the Construction of Sacral Monarchy: Royal Architecture in Thirteenth-Century Paris. (2014) New York: Cambridge University Press.)

     In 1794 a Parish mob broke into the chapel and dispersed or destroyed the relics except for the reed base of the Crown of Thorns now house at Notre-Dame in Paris and many of the individual thorns that were disbursed as gifts including a pair of thorns to Mary Queen of Scots when she married the French Dauphin in 1560. (Several of the Holy Thorn Reliquaries were on exhibit at the British Museum in the fall of 2011. See: <http://www.learn.columbia.edu/treasuresofheaven/relics/The-Holy-Thorn-Reliquary.php >
<http://www.learn.columbia.edu/treasuresofheaven/relics/Reliquary-Pendant-for-the-Holy-Thorn.php> < http://www.thinkingfaith.org/articles/20110923_1.htm>)

     In the 1840s the Sainte-Chapelle was restored.  The stained glass windows were again restored from 2008-2015.

     On the northeastern side of the east end chevet is a two lancet window in bay J.  The right hand window is a Jesse Tree and the left hand window has scenes from the book of the prophet Isaiah. The tall Jesse Tree window contains 57 sections with figures.

Isaiah and Jesse Window in bay J with tracery at the top of the double lancet window.
<https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/95/Sainte-Chapelle_haute_vitrail_12.jpeg>
Whole Jesse Tree window in bay J.
Photo credits for all Jesse Tree window pictures: Painton Cowen
<http://www.therosewindow.com/pilot/StChapelle/images/w6l-whole.jpg>

Top two panels of the Jesse Tree window with six gold and white doves and 2 angels praying.  (I am not sure what happened to the seventh dove when the window was restored in the 19th century.) The two angels appear to be mirror images of each other.
<http://www.therosewindow.com/pilot/StChapelle/images/w6r-9-11-IMG_8788.jpg>

First panel below the top panels with  Jesus Christ seated.  He holds a cross scepter in his left hand and rest a book, the Gospels on his left knee.  The right hand is held up in blessing.  He is flanked by two unidentified prophets.  Each of the prophets in this Jesse Tree window has a blue nimbus.
http://www.therosewindow.com/pilot/StChapelle/images/w6r-14-16-IMG_8788.jpg

Second panel below the top has the Blessed Virgin Mary.  She is crowned and grasping the Jesse vine with both hands.  She is not holding any objects. Two unidentified prophets flank her.
<http://www.therosewindow.com/pilot/StChapelle/images/w6r-19-21-IMG_8788.jpg>

First panel below the Virgin Mary. The center section of the generic King of Judah is a replacement. This is the 14th king in the Jesse Tree window and 13th generic King of Judah.
<http://www.therosewindow.com/pilot/StChapelle/images/w6r-25-27-210506.JPG>

Second panel below the Virgin Mary.  Subject is a generic crowned King of Judah, the 12th generic king and the 13th king. The center section is a replacement panel. Note that the prophets are not identified.  They are repetitions of other prophets in the Jesse Tree window.
<http://www.therosewindow.com/pilot/StChapelle/images/w6r-32-34-IMG_8787.jpg>

Third panel below the Virgin Mary.  This is the 11th generic King of Judah and 12th king in the window  The prophets are not identified and their designs are repetitions of other prophets.
<http://www.therosewindow.com/pilot/StChapelle/images/w6r-38-40-IMG_8787.jpg>

Fourth panel below the Virgin Mary.  This is the 10th generic King of Judah and the 11th king in the window.  Prophet on the left is identified as Amos.
<http://www.therosewindow.com/pilot/StChapelle/images/w6r-45-47-IMG_8786.jpg>

Fifth panel below the Virgin Mary,  This is the 9th generic King of Judah and 10th king in the window.  The prophets are nor identified.  Their designs are repeats of other prophets in the window.
<http://www.therosewindow.com/pilot/StChapelle/images/w6r-51-53-IMG_8786.jpg >

Sixth panel below the Virgin Mary,  This is the 8th generic King of Judah and 9th king in the window.  The prophet on the left is Isaias (or Isaiah).  The prophet on the right is not identified.
<http://www.therosewindow.com/pilot/StChapelle/images/w6r-56-58-IMG_8786.jpg>

Seventh panel below the Virgin Mary.  This is the 7th generic King of Judah and 8th king in the window.  The prophet on the left appears to have something written on the scroll but it is not now readable.  The prophet on the right is a repeated figure.
<http://www.therosewindow.com/pilot/StChapelle/images/w6r-63-65-IMG_8782.jpg>

Eight panel below the Virgin Mary,  This is the 6th generic King of Judah and the 7th king in the window.  The king section of the panel is a replacement.  Neither flanking prophet is identified and both are repeated figures.
http://www.therosewindow.com/pilot/StChapelle/images/w6r-67-69-IMG_8783.jpg

Ninth panel below the Virgin Mary.  This is the 5th generic King of Judah and the 6th king in the window.  Neither prophet is identified and both are repeated designs.  Both the replacement king above and this king appear to have wings or something else beside an invisible chair behind them.
<http://www.therosewindow.com/pilot/StChapelle/images/w6r-74-76-IMG_8783.jpg>

Tenth panel below the Virgin Mary.  This is the 4th generic King of Judah and 5th king in the window.  Neither prophet is identified and both prophets are repeats of other prophets in the window.
<http://www.therosewindow.com/pilot/StChapelle/images/w6r-80-82-IMG_8781.jpg>


Eleventh panel below the Virgin Mary.  This is the 3rd generic King of Judah and the 4th king in the window.  Though both prophets appear to have writing on the scrolls that they hold, it is not now readable.
<http://www.therosewindow.com/pilot/StChapelle/images/w6r-87-89-IMG_8781.jpg>


Twelfth panel below the Virgin Mary.  All three sections of this window are replacements.  This is the second generic king of Judah and 4th king overall.  This king also appears to have wings as seen in one original and one replacement panel above.  The designs for the prophets are also repeats. 
<http://www.therosewindow.com/pilot/StChapelle/images/w6r-93-95-IMG_8779.jpg>

Thirteenth panel below the Virgin Mary. The flanking prophets in this panel are replacements.  This king who is immediately above King David should be King Solomon but there is no identifying iconography.  This is the second "original glass" panel that appears to have a king with wings.
<http://www.therosewindow.com/pilot/StChapelle/images/w6r-98-100-IMG_8779.jpg>

Fourteenth panel below the Virgin Mary and first panel above Jesse.  This is King David bowing a waisted vielle.  Both prophets with indecipherable writing on the scrolls that they hold are replacements.
<http://www.therosewindow.com/pilot/StChapelle/images/w6-105-107-IMG_8778.jpg>

The bottom panel with Jesse sitting up in bed.  The trunk of the white tree grows from his loins.  The center section and the two flanking prophets are all 19th century replacement panels.
<http://www.therosewindow.com/pilot/StChapelle/images/w6-105-107-IMG_8778.jpg>

   Because of the complexity of the Jesse Tree Window at Sainte-Chapelle, I thought that a diagram might be helpful in keeping track of the replacement sections in the window and the repeated panels.  I assigned each row and column a letter and number designation to make it easier.  Row 1 and 2 represent the top of the lancet window and not the tracery above.

ROW
Column  A
Column B
Column C
1

2 golden doves

2
Angel mirror image of C2
4 doves
Angel mirror image of A2
3
Blue nimbed prophet pointing down.  Same as A6 & A9
Jesus Christ seated with cross halo. Right hand raised in blessing.  Book resting on left knee and cross-scepter in left hand.
Blue nimbed prophet with scroll in left hand and right hand across chest..  
4
Blue nimbed prophet with arms across chest, pointing outward with left hand.  Same as A7
Crowned and seated Virgin Mary with both hands holding white Jesse Tree vine
Blue nimbed prophet holding scroll with both hands .  Same as C13, & C15
 5
Blue nimbed prophet. Same as A13 &A14
King of Judah holding vine
Modern replacement
Blue nimbed prophet with scroll.  Same as C9 &C11
6
Blue nimbed prophet pointing down. Same as A3 & A9
King of Judah holding vine
Modern replacement
Blue nimbed prophet with scroll pointing to king.  Same as C7
7
Blue nimbed prophet with arms across chest, pointing outward with left hand.  Same as A4
King of Judah holding on to Jesse Tree vine. Same as B5 and B6 that are modern replacements.
Blue nimbed prophet with scroll pointing to king. Same as C6
8
Forward facing blue nimbed prophet Amos.  Amos written on scroll. Same as A10 A11, A12, & A16 .
King of Judah holding on to Jesse Tree vine.
Blue nimbed prophet with both arms pointing toward king. Same as C10, C12 & C14.
9
¾ forward facing, blue nimbed prophet. Similar to A3 & A6
King of Judah holding on to Jesse Tree vine.  Same as B10, B14 &B15
Blue nimbed prophet pointing to king.  Same as C5 & C11
10
Prophet Isaias (Isaiah). Same as prophet Amos, A8 and prophet A11, A12, & A16,.  Name written on scroll.
King of Judah holding vine.  Same as B9, B14 & B15.
Blue nimbed prophet with both arms pointing toward king, Same as C8, C12, & C14.
11
Prophet with name on scroll standing in same position as A8, A10, A12, & A16.
Cannot decipher name.
King of Judah holding vine. 
Blue nimbed prophet.. Same design as C9 &C5.
12
Prophet with scroll standing in same position as A8, A10, A11, & A16. No name of scroll
King of Judah holding on to vine.  19th century replacement
Blue nimbed prophet with both arms pointing toward king, Same as C8, C10, & C14.
13
Prophet with scroll pointing toward king. Same as A5& A14
King of Judah holding on to Jesse Tree vine.  Replacement B12 was copied from B13. Same as B17.
Blue nimbed prophet with scroll in both hands.  Same as C3 & C15, 
14
Prophet with scroll pointing toward king. Same as A5 & A13
King of Judah holding on to Jesse Tree vine.  Same as B9, B10, & B15
Blue nimbed prophet with both arms pointing toward king, Same as C8, C10, &C12.
15
Blue nimbed thin bearded prophet holding scroll.  Name not readable.
King of Judah holding on to Jesse Tree  vine.  Same as B9, B10 &B14
Blue nimbed prophet with scrollin both hands. Same as C3 & C13, 
16
Blue nimbed prophet with scroll. 19th century replacement. Same design as A8, A10, A11, & A12
King of Judah holding on to Jesse Tree vine.  19th century replacement.  Similar to B12 and B13.
Prophet with right hand pointing toward king and holding a scroll in the left hand.  19th century replacement.
17
Blue nimbed prophet holding scroll with both hands. 19th century replacement
King of Judah holdling on the Jesse Tree vine.  Design is similar to B12, B13
Blue nimbed prophet with scroll.  19th century replacement.
18
Blue nimbed prophet holding scroll with both hands. Modern replacement. Same as B19.
King David playing a waisted vielle with bow.
Blue nimbed prophet holding scroll in left hand. Modern replacement
19
Blue nimbed prophet holding scroll with both hands. Modern replacement. Same as B18
Jesse asleep in bed though sitting up.  Jesse Tree is growing from loins.
Blue nimbed prophet holding scroll in both hands. 19th century replacement.

   Jesse Tree of Sainte-Chapelle by the numbers:
  • 34 Old Testament figures all blue nimbed.  This is more than the 4 major and 12 minor prophets included in even the largest presentations of the Jesse Tree.  So one has to assume that the artisans who drew the figures were also including Old Testament figures such as Moses and Aaron and Old Testament patriarchs such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob/Israel among others.
  • 14 Kings of Judah including the only identifiable king in the window, King David who is playing a waisted vielle in his lap.
  • 13 sections of panels that were replaced in the 19th century.(This might not be completely accurate.  Medieval glass made north of the Alps has a significantly different  chemical composition from modern soda-lime-silicate glass and from glass made using the Roman techniques that continued in the Mediterranean area. The northern glass has a much higher potassium or potash content and calcium content. This allows analysis of the glass using various spectroscopic techniques as well as chemical analysis.  Techniques such as specialized spectroscopy suggest that the identification of medieval and 19th century glass by inspection may not be that accurate.)
  • 6 doves.
  • 8 figures including the Virgin Mary and seven kings posed in the same frontal manner
  • 5 prophets with scroll in left hand. 
  • 5 prophets with banderoles across chest
  • 4 kings facing forward and grasping the vine in the same manner.
  • 4 kings, 2 original glass and 2 replacement sections that appear to have wings.
  • 4 prophets pointing
  • 3 prophets holding scrolls with both hands. 
  • 3 prophets pointing toward the king. 
  • 2 angels
  • 2 prophets who are named, Amos and Isaias.
  • 1 Jesse figure
  • 1 Blessed Virgin Mary
  • 1 Jesus Christ seated in majesty.

      For all its height, the Jesse Tree window at Sainte-Chapelle is not especially complex.  The center panels contain static forward facing figures except for King David playing an instrument.  The prophets and Old Testament figures are drawn in more positions, but even here, the designs are repeated to simplify the assembly of the window from the various pieces of glass.  The two most distinctive features of this window are the large number of crowned kings and the multitude of Old Testament figures who are unidentified for the most part.  As has been noted in the past, this window is a celebration of kings and kingship.
  












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