Neoplatonism In Sainte Chapelle

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Neoplatonism sprung from the metaphysics of Plato, whose ideal Forms posited the concepts of Unity, Perfection, and the Eternal and human flourishing as a result of their contemplation. Plotinus, in the third century, inherited these ideas and wrote about a cosmological hierarchy of the universe: at the top is the immaterial, the Divine, the Source of Light, and at the bottom of the scale is where humanity resides; in the material, the carnal, and the imperfect. Human beings, he argued, were capable of accessing the realm of Divine by participating in the workings of reason, meditation, and contemplation. These ideas were then inherited by Christianity and were considered in worship, which would primarily take place in the Church. Hence arose…show more content…
The thin arches, rising from the ground and up into the roof serve two purposes: first, they allow for the distribution of weight, allowing for the structure to soar in height; and second, it serves a distinctly aesthetic purpose by leading the viewer’s eye to gaze upwards and marvel at the vertical and undisrupted continuity. Along with its sheer height, the space is incredibly and richly ornate with colour and light. No walls surround the chapel, and instead, richly coloured windows flank the entire space. These tall, thin lancets are carefully and delicately decorated with stained glass. The stained glass, coloured in an extraordinary array of deep reds and various shades of glittering blues, filter a vast amount of ethereal light into the space. The sense of height and of illumination creates a space that indicates a realm that is beyond that of the worldly; walking into the space is akin to shedding the dull veils of earthly life and bathing oneself into the spectacular colour, soaring height, and aura of otherworldly light. Surely, the upper chapel of the Sainte Chapelle creates the perfect ambience for the spiritual experience: of wonder, transcendence, and contemplation of the beauty of the Divine and what lies…show more content…
The manipulation of colour and light separates the viewer from the everyday scenes of life, with the grandeur and richness of the spiritual. The purpose is to create a sense of transcendence, sublimity, contemplation, and elevation above the material. The sense of vertical, soaring height and thin arches appears almost skeletal, and gives a sense of being in a space that is weightless and light. There is no sense of the heaviness or substantial weight that is found, for instance, in the brooding temples and imperial buildings of Antiquity. This approach gives one a sense that they are entering a profoundly spiritual, otherworldly place, with the rich bejeweled glittering material, surely a space that one living in Medieval France – or even today – would not be accustomed to seeing in the everyday world of toil and of the mundane. The use of aesthetics, here, gives a worshipper a sense that they are entering upon Divine Presence, and the profound use of illumination and vibrant colours can create a sense of urgency towards spiritual unity with God. Lightness is found both in the weightless sense of space and glowing expanses of dappled, coloured, light, indicating the immateriality of the soul amid the materiality of

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