Chapter 13 Abbot Gauzlin’s Tower Porch in Fleury (c.1015–30): A Social Narrative in Favor of the Capetians

In: Art, Architecture, and the Moving Viewer, c. 300-1500 CE
Author:
Barbara Franzé
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Abstract

In the years 1015–26, the abbot Gauzlin of Fleury mobilized considerable financial and logistical efforts to rebuild the tower porch of his abbey, hiring the services of the master Unbertus for this purpose. The work was equal to the abbot’s ambitions: to ensure the luster of his abbey and to impose a certain model of society through a subtle concertation of image and architecture. The model of society imagined by Gauzlin promoted his order (the clergy) and the new Capetian dynasty, whose authority was in the process of consolidation at the time. It was proposed to the faithful through a double procession route: when they came from the village to reach the church (north–south axis) and when they entered the tower-porch, they reached the entrance of the church (west–east axis). Gauzlin’s artistic program promoted a social order governed in agreement by the temporal and spiritual leaders, and it was the only social order that could claim legitimacy. It ensured the salvation of the faithful and promised the advent of the heavenly Jerusalem, represented and already announced by the tower-porch, in its form and structure.

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