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How France Became Beautiful~

How France Became Beautiful~

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Published by Suzanne de Cornelia
The surprising way that France became a nation devoted to beauty giving new meaning to the architectural expression, 'God is in the details.'
The surprising way that France became a nation devoted to beauty giving new meaning to the architectural expression, 'God is in the details.'

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Suzanne de Cornelia on Mar 04, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/04/2013

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 In the second installment of 'Plus La Belle Vie'...I'masking; can the French proclivity for beautiful
 
craftsmanship in even the tiniest trifle, like tying aperfect bow on a box containing one croissant, be tracedback to an abbot? In other words, is a nation or a lifecreated from its defining thoughts about what things
mean. Ina Caro, author of ‘Paris to
 
the Past’ seems toexclaim, ‘Qui!’
She traces the birth of light-filled, luxe-loving, precision-detailed La Belle France to the medieval abbey of St.Denis--and specifically to Abbot Suger (1081
1151).
Ina Caro’s decades of research took root when in
thelate 1960s her husband, biographer Robert Caro,launched himself into a book project that he envisionedwould require nine months to complete. Seven years
later...he was still wordsmithin' and they were, ‘Totallybroke.’ They had to hock their home, le
aving even thepiano and pool table behind, and Madame Caro writes,
she couldn’t ‘look the butcher or dry cleaner in the eye.’
 
When ‘The New Yorker’ bought an excerpt of his tome
--they squared their tabs, and jetted off to France. Andthus their penchant for spending two months a year inthe land of castles, couture, and cathedrals began.To embed a mental blueprint of chronological French
history that would lead to her first book ‘Road From thePast’ the couple traveled through France according to
historical periods, rather than geographical adjacencies.
 
With her second book, ‘Paris to the Past’, faster trains
meant they could have a home base in the City of Lightsfor a nightly return while making day trips to view sitesin order of periods.Caro found her initial view of the unsymmetrical andthen grimy Saint Denis disappointing. The abbey churchwas completed in 775 A.D. for the education,Coronation, and burial of French monarchs. As the royalabbey, St. Denis was a symbol of power. Thus the authordelved further into its predominant historian, who,despite humble roots, became abbot of Saint Denis
and charmed his way into becoming counselor to LouisVI and Louis VII.From a time when churches were squat, low ceilinged,and dark--Abbot Suger was drawn to gold, gems,brilliance, and spaces that lifted souls to enlightenment.He became the 'inventor' of soaring Gothic architectureand rebuilt the Church of Saint-Denis so that it befittedKings--and he inspired worshippers to draw closer tocelestial being.
He’s credited with the first use of flying buttresses, the
rose window, and large clerestory windows. In fact, hisAbbey of Saint-Denis became the living blueprint for theluminous Cathedrals of northern France. At the door, hehad an inscription placed, advising that visitors marvelnot at the lavishness, but at the craftsmanship; thematerial inspired by the immaterial.

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