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Sacred Geometry

Sacred Geometry. The Gothic Cathedral, Dante’s Divine Comedy and Gothic Music. The Geometry of the Cosmos Numbers and Christian Symbolism The School of Chartres and Plato’s Timaeus. God the Geometer. The Age of Synthesis. Scholasticism The Interconnectedness of Life Divine Plan

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Sacred Geometry

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  1. Sacred Geometry The Gothic Cathedral, Dante’s Divine Comedy and Gothic Music

  2. The Geometry of the Cosmos Numbers and Christian Symbolism The School of Chartres and Plato’s Timaeus God the Geometer

  3. The Age of Synthesis • Scholasticism • The Interconnectedness of Life • Divine Plan • Social Order • Church Order • Vision • Observable • Hidden • Symbolic

  4. Abbot Suger and St. Denis • “[t]he entire sanctuary is thus pervaded by a wonderful and continuous light entering through the most sacred windows....The work which nobly shines makes our minds shine so that they may go through the true lights to the true light, where Christ is the true door.” • The new architecture • Ribbed groin vaults • Flying Buttresses • Pointed arches • Arcade above the nave and choir colonnades • The introduction of stained glass, “garnished with all manner of precious stones” (Revelation 21:19).

  5. The Cathedral of Notre Dame at Chartres

  6. Architectural format • Based on Plan developed during Romanesque. • Choir has been lengthened. • Transept has been shortened. • Uniform geometrical system applied to plan and elevation.

  7. External Modifications Notre Dame in Paris

  8. Interior Modifications • Pointed Arch • Rib vaults • Arcade above nave

  9. Chartres Cathedral West Facade • Application of the Golden Mean to the façade as a whole. • Tripartite division: tower and doors. • Tripartite division: doors, lancets and rose window. • Three doors and three lancets with larger central door/window.

  10. Chartres Cathedral “Royal Portal”

  11. Central Portal: Last Judgment • Observer leaves physical world behind • Visionary image of Christ in mandorla • Four symbols of the Evangelists • 12 Disciples with Enoch and Elias

  12. North Portal • Ascension or Christ Before Creation • Labors of the Month (Harvesting and Pruning the Vine) and Signs of the Zodiac (Cancer and Aries)

  13. South Portal • Portal of the Virgin • New prominence of the Virgin • Mary as emblem of purity • Tympanum and Lintel • Virgin Enthroned • Presentation of Jesus in the Temple • Annunciation, Visitation and Nativity • Shepherd and tension between Man as corrupt and goodness of Creation

  14. South Portal, Voussoirs • Seven Liberal Arts as women on the outside. • Bearded men as philosophers associated with each • Pythagors and Music; Donatus and Grammar • Dependence of secular learning on divine wisdom • Important enough to be included in theological image

  15. Frieze of Capitals Life of Jesus Entry into Jerusalem Betrayal Entombment

  16. Chartres Interior Views

  17. Chartres, additional interior views

  18. West end windows from the interior • Symbolism of the Rose • Circles and numbers • Pointing toward the Holy

  19. West Portal Lancet Windows • Tree of Jesse: Christ’s predecessors • Incarnation Window • Passion Window

  20. Chartres, Stained Glass, west lancet windows

  21. Detail of Passion Window

  22. “La Belle Vierge” • Contemporary with west lancets • Mary enthroned in heaven

  23. Good Samaritan Window and Creation of Adam and Eve

  24. Window donors (bakers), Signs of Zodiac, 3 Kings from Incarnation Window

  25. Chartres Cathedral, Labyrinth

  26. Gregorian Chant Neumes for the Kyrie Eleison

  27. Notre Dame Organum: Gaudie Maria virgo

  28. Dante degli Alighieri, 1265-1321 • Florentine poet • Explored theme of Love in poets to Beatrice • Exiled from Florence in 1301 and never returned • Composed the Divine Comedy, an epic poem, in Tuscan Italian elevating the latter as an important language and the former as the standard

  29. Formal Structure of the Divine Comedy • Three canticas of 33 cantos each plus an additional introductory canto for the first cantica • Composed in terza rima, 3-line verses, each line 11 syllables long with a rhyme scheme, ABA BCB CDC that ties the verses to each other and compels forward movement.

  30. Content Structure of the Divine Comedy • Epic journey from Inferno to Purgatorio and finally Paradiso • Inferno consists of 9 circles in which each condemned receives appropriate torture. • Purgatorio with 7 terraces each associated with one of the deadly sins. • Paradiso comprised of nine spheres of Heaven. • Begins his journey on Holy Thursday 1300 guided by Vergil, author of the Aeneid • Enters Paradiso with the help of Beatrice

  31. Dante holding a copy of his Divine Comedy in a painting by Michelini

  32. Botticelli’s rendering of the Inferno

  33. Diagram of Dante’s Inferno

  34. Dante’s Cosmology

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