Oct 23

The Royal Abbey of Saint-Denis: Cradle of Gothic Architecture

Lynda Harper Kelly, Ph.D.

The Royal Abbey of Saint-Denis stands as the cradle of Gothic architecture and the revered mausoleum for French kings for over a millennium. Legend recounts that circa 250 A.D., Denis, the first bishop of Paris, was decapitated by Romans, picked up his head, and walked to the site of the abbey, collapsed, and was buried. By the 5th century, a church arose over Denis' tomb. By the 7th century, King Dagobert’s lavish patronage solidified it's significance and he is considered the first king buried at St-Denis. Subsequently, from Hugues Capet's entombment in 996 onwards, nearly all French kings found their final resting place there. Today the cathedral showcases a collection of over 70 recumbent statues and tombs, unparalleled in Europe. Recognized by the French Historic Monuments organization as one of Paris' eight “must-see” landmarks, alongside the Sainte-Chapelle and the Pantheon.

Enriched with vivid imagery captured by architect Frank Kelly in recent visits, this lecture will cover the history of the abbey, its place in the development of Gothic architecture and sculpture, and its role as royal necropolis - all through the lens of architectural expertise.

This class will be held in-person at WIH and simulcast via Zoom



Class Tuition

38 in stock

Price is per student. Class tuition is non-refundable.