odborné studie detailpeter kováč: notes on the description of the sainte-chapelle in paris from 1378

PETER KOVÁČ: Notes on the Description of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris from 1378

Peter Kováč, Notes on the description of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris from 1378, in: Court chapels of the high and late middle ages and their artistic decoration (ed. Jiří Fajt), proceedings from the international symposium, published by the National Gallery in Prague, Prague: National Gallery, 2003, p. 413-418.

Revealing data on the functioning of the Sainte-Chapelle in the Middle Ages may be found in contemporary account of the visit to the Chapel by the 61-year old Emperor Charles IV who arrived in Paris on January 4, 1378, accompanied by his son, the Roman and Bohemian King Vaclav (Wenceslas) IV, and of their twelve day stay at the French court. Part of the official programme was a visit to the Chapel built in the Royal Palace by Louis IX. The Emperor known already had the Chapel quite well from his previous stays, especially in his youth spent at the Paris court. Still, this could hardly make the visit any less attractive. The Sainte-Chapelle is said to have astounded the famous visitors, and a medieval French chronicler duly devoted to that fact many lines in his account. (note 1)

Of key importance was primarily the passage called Comment le Roy monstra á l'Empereur les reliques de la Sainte-Chapelle de son palais. One can read there that on Wednesday, January 6, 1378 Emperor Charles IV expressed his wish personally to attend a mass in the Sainte-Chapelle and also asked the French King Charles V to show him on that day the holy relics kept in the large container for relics in the Chapel. Described in old documents as the "Grande Chasse", in this account the reliquary is called "Sainte Chasse" or merely "Chasse". Its appearance is known solely from old renditions and descriptions as the reliquary was destroyed during the French Revolution. Thanks to a detailed reconstruction made by Robert Branner we know that the case had a special door opened and closed by key, providing access to the precious relics Louis IX had acquired in 1239 and 1241. The most valuable relics included Christ's Crown of Thorn and a large piece of the True Cross. (2) The reliquary was situated at the very end of the upper Chapel, in the presbytery, directly above the main altar, set on a special canopied platform called by Robert Branner a "tribune", by Willibald Sauerländer "Plattform des Altarziborium" and by Louis Grodecki a "reliquary - platform". (3)

First of all, the relics were viewed before the religious service began. The French King went round the main altar and ascended one of the two spiral staircases to the elevated platform. Emperor Charles IV posed something of a problem. The famous guest could not move very well; the pain in his joints from gout caused him to stoop when walking. As a result, he had to be carried around in an armchair most of the time. According to the chronicler, the spiral staircase was quite steep and narrow so that the Emperor could not be carried up. Instead the servants had to pull him upstairs by his shoulders and legs, which was very painful indeed. But they eventually succeeded and Charles IV too was carried upstairs. Both the French King and the Emperor then went behind the case containing the relics as its door was at the back. The King of France unlocked the holy chasse. The Emperor took off his hat, clasped his hands in prayer and prayed in front of the relics with great piety. Then he let himself be raised to kiss the holy relics. Besides the Emperor, the small princes were also present: including probably the successor to the throne, the 9-year old Charles who reigned from 1380 as Charles VI, and the 5-year old Louis of Orleans. The King repeatedly took one relic after another into his hands, showing each to the Emperor and letting the princes kiss each relic. After such a thorough and long inspection Charles V turned the open chasse towards the Chapel and let it be guarded by the bishops of Beauvais and Paris who were probably then standing on the platform on each side of the "Grande Chasse".

This account makes it evident that the elevated platform, which we today know solely from a 19th-century reconstruction, was relatively spacious and that there had to be a comparatively large space between the chasse and the eastern wall of the Chapel - or rather in between its windows. This space could accommodate at least two servants with the sick Emperor as well as the King of France himself and his sons. Both bishops were probably there too at that moment, assisting in the process of taking the relics out of the case. The sovereigns and the princes kept taking the relics into their hands and kissed them, coming into direct physical contact with the objects. The relics were taken out of the reliquary case only by the King of France who later put them back. On that day, January 6, 1378 he was one of the main directors of that special spectacle. It was the King of France too who later turned the open case so that the relics could also be seen by the other people congregated inside the Chapel. The fact that the "Grande Chasse" was placed on a revolving base was already mentioned in Robert Branner's reconstruction who referred, however, to evidence dating back only to 1688.

A similar scene was very briefly described in the 13th century by Jean de Joinville who saw Louis IX standing on the elevated platform, taking the fragment of the True Cross out of the case. His evidence proves, among other things, that already during the lifetime of the founder of the Sainte-Chapelle the presbytery housed that special platform for the reliquary case called by Joinville in original l'eschaufaunt au reliques", and which - in a modern French translation - reads "La tribune des reliques" (4); an English translation uses the term "platform where the relics were kept". (5) This is an important piece of information. According to many scholars, the "Grande Chasse" was originally kept downstairs, directly behind the altar mensa, which means that the ruler did not have to climb up the winding stairs to see the relics. That act of "elevating" the relics high on the tribune probably happened after 1254, when Louis IX returned from his first Crusade. Robert Branner, who extensively studied this particular problem even, voiced the view that this change had disfigured the original programme of the Sainte-Chapelle. (6) He wrote: "... The new, higher tribune obscured the relationship between the relics and the saints, a number of whose images now became difficult or impossible to see, while addition of the screen and the extra altar behind it converted the interior of the chapel into a regular church. The original program of the Sainte-Chapelle was disfigured, its significance henceforth permanently lost in the accretion of altars and furniture that future ages were constantly to add to the interior". (7)

Nonetheless, in functional terms the tribune fits in perfectly. It was perhaps a makeshift wooden platform, called in contemporary sources, as "ulpitum pro spectaculo", which twice served Louis IX the purpose of public exhibition of the relics, that was the immediate source of inspiration for the tribune. It was erected in 1239 and then again in 1241 near the Paris city walls, not far from the Church of St Anthony, helping the King to show his subjects in the open air the Crown of Thorns and also part of the True Cross, the unique treasures he had just acquired in Constantinople. (8) The tribune built in the interior of the Sainte-Chapelle was instrumental in facilitating two important things at a time. First, it enabled the King and his closest relatives to develop an inner devotional relation towards the valuable relics. Only the select few were privileged to ascend the spiral staircase and face the relics, take them into their hands and kiss them. During such acts of adoration, they kept sufficient distance from other people, a practice given by the prevailing hierarchical arrangements within the medieval society. And second, turning around its axis and elevated high above the altar, the reliquary chasse perfectly served the purpose of worthy public presentation of the relics. That happened every time after the King turned the open "Grande Chasse" towards the spectators gathered in the Chapel. Had the reliquary been located downstairs, directly behind the altar it would have been virtually invisible to those standing in the nave, while even people sitting directly in the choir could have seen them with great difficulty.

In my opinion, the desire to see the relics distinctly, which will be later demonstrated in the case of Charles IV himself, was much more substantial than the fact that the superstructure obscured part of the stained glass or painted medallions which nobody could see from that distance anyway and which fulfilled for most spectators a more or less symbolic role. At the same time, not even the arcades of the tribune, nor both winding staircases, nor the ciborium concealed the iconographically important view of the statues of two apostles, St Peter and St Paul who stand stately - as representatives of the Roman Church - on the sides of the "Grande Chasse". Therefore, the position of the tribune can in no way be said to have destroyed the iconographic programme of Louis IX's Chapel. On the contrary, it made a sizeable contribution to a worthy presentation of the relics, as corroborated by the chronicler's account of Emperor Charles IV's visit to the Sainte-Chapelle. Consequently, even the stained glass paintings directly behind the reliquary case were given a new meaning, having become more comprehensible to those who, as privileged visitors, came up to the elevated platform behind the "Grande Chasse". One can vividly imagine the scene when - on January 6. 1378 - the King of France was showing the individual relics to his children in what was almost a didactic fashion, pointing out the painted Passion scenes connected with the relics on the stained glass paintings behind the ciborium.

As a matter of fact, the King of France kept the most impressive of those images, associated with the most valuable relic in the Chapel, namely the Crown of Thorns, within his sight every time he ascended the stairs to the platform where the case with the relics was kept. This scene in particular is very important. As demonstrated in an iconographic analysis by Otto von Simson, Christ is sitting on a bench as a king on the throne. His feet are bare to be sure, but he is dressed in a precious robe. He is blessing with his right hand, his left hand holding a cane which looks more like a sceptre. Also the wreath made of thorns does not look like an instrument of torture. Instead we tend to perceive it as a large ceremonial crown which is being carefully placed on Christ's head by a soldier standing on his right. Jesus seems to be turning to him, bearing on his face what is literally a graceful expression. The remaining soldiers look like courtiers whose gestures seem to be giving tribute to this special coronation ceremony. (9)

It is interesting to compare those impressions with the contemporary text of Jacobus de Voragine's Golden Legend where we read outright drastic, expressive details. It says Jesus was bleeding profusely as the crown had been thrust on his head so violently and strongly that its sharp thorns penetrated to his brain. (10) This expressive drama has nothing in common with the ceremonial majesty of the composition in the Sainte Chapelle, meant to resemble a genuine royal coronation as much as possible. Only nobody would have ever seen those niceties, so justifiably accentuated by Otto von Simson, even if he were actually sitting right in the choir. Even today's visitor who gets to the immediate vicinity of the altar mensa has to use binoculars. But the elevated platform for specially selected spectators did facilitate their inspection of this impressive composition from the closest quarters and down to the smallest detail!

But let us return to the text of the chronicle. Following a long inspection of the relics, Charles IV was carried down from the platform by his servants, a journey which caused him the same physical suffering as the previous ascent. The Grande Chasse remained open and about-turned so that the congregation in the Chapel could distinctly see the relics kept in the case. The mass itself was about to begin. The King reserved for the Emperor one of the two oratories in the chapel. But the latter refused that place, saying he wanted to sit in the chair usually occupied by the treasurer - "tresorier" of the Sainte-Chapelle. And why did the Emperor want to sit elsewhere? To see the holy relics better and longer and to sit facing the reliquary case more directly. As a result, a new place was prepared for him, the seat being covered by a gold-adorned robe. Meanwhile, Charles V was said to have settled in his own oratory, situated - according to the chronicler - not far from the entrance to the sacristy. That place was decorated with a canopy. Since the Emperor had no canopy above him, the King had his own baldaquin removed as well. Both then attended the service.

After the Mass, the French King re-ascended the platform, turned the case to its original position, showed the relics to the people in the Emperor's entourage and locked the reliquary door. Since all this had taken a very long time, the Emperor retired into a room near the Sainte-Chapelle where the clergymen and other guardians lived. Could this have been a building housing the archives and the sacristy which was later pulled down or was it another specially reserved wing of the palace? It is difficult to say unequivocally. What seems to be easier in this respect is to identify the two above-mentioned oratories. With a bit of effort, an intimate place for meditation could be found behind the altar on the left, within the framework of that special inbuilt section at the very end of the choir, in the space separated by a row of open arcades. As shown bya very frequently reproduced miniature depicting the medieval interior of the Sainte-Chapelle, two praying persons could stay in that space. (11) And true enough, the entrance to the sacristy is situated nearby. Logically, we could anticipate that - to do justice to symmetry - another oratory would be found on the opposite side, on the right viewed from the position of a spectator looking at the altar. But a lavabo, where the priest ceremoniously washed his hands, is situated there. One can hardly imagine that yet another person could have squeezed in and stayed there. Frankly speaking, there is not much space on the left-hand side either. Staying there would certainly require some restraint. People crossed this area on their way to the spiral staircase leading to the tribune, and all the signs are that the space would have hardly taken the baldaquin the chronicle says the King had above him.

That is why our conclusion is that the two oratories mentioned by the chronicler were definitely situated elsewhere. Looking around the Chapel's interior, we can see two deeper niches beneath the windows, approximately in the middle of the Chapel, located symmetrically opposite each other on the southern and northern walls. The framing of their upper parts is supplemented with a relief scene of Christ in Heaven, with angels bringing him crowns as symbols of celebration, respect and power. And for whom else but the members of the royal family could a place featuring angels adoring the heavenly ruler be reserved? (12) The scenes on the stained glass windows also deserve our attention. The windows above one of the niches display numerous scenes of coronation and triumphs of the Old Testament rulers. Above the other niche, painters rendered the story of Esther, a common girl who became the wife and wise counsellor to the Persian Xerxes, the ruler of a large part of the then known world. In both cases, iconographic explanations are very interesting. The coronation scenes have no substantiation in the text of the Old Testament which only gives a list of the leaders of the individual Israeli tribes and the short account of Esther, as given by the Bible, does not provide a wealth of themes that would make it possible to find various motifs for more than a hundred scenes depicted there. As a result, several compositions are monotonously repeated. Very often a queen and a king are represented at different court ceremonies.

That is also why we are in a position to support the view of all the scholars who have come to the conclusion that both niches were destined for the royal family, that these are indeed the oratories mentioned by the chronicler. Different views have, however, been voiced concerning the precise seat of the French King during the Mass. According to Wolfgang Liebenwein he sat in the niche on the southern side. He writes: "Dieses Obergeschoss war allein den höchsten Würdenträgern und dem hohen Klerus vorbehalten. Doch selbst innerhalb dieses Sanktuariums besass das Königspaar noch zwei besondere Plätze. Im dritten Joch sind in die Seitenwände zwei grosse Nischen eingetieft, die durch ein kleines Fenster eigene Beleuchtung aufweisen und vermutlich durch Vorhänge zu schliessen waren. Die südliche Nische war für den König bestimmt und noch mit zwei Weihwasserbecken versehen. In ihren winzigen Räumen waren der König und seine Gemahlin abgeschirmt und konnten sich ganz der privaten Verehrung ihrer Reliquien hingeben." (13)

But this - to a certain extent - runs counter to the word of the medieval chronicler describing the visit in 1378. One day before the Emperor himself visited the Chapel (that is on January 5, 1378), Charles V took Wenceslas IV, the Roman and Bohemian King, to the Sainte-Chapelle and selected for him the oratory on the northern side. He himself sat on the opposite - southern - side, precisely where Wolfgang Liebenwein would have him placed on each occasion. But the following day, when Emperor Charles IV, against all expectations, asked for the seat belonging to the "treasurer of the Chapel", the French King sat in the oratory near the entrance to the sacristy, i.e. on the northern side of the Chapel! The sacristy is described by the French word "revestiaire", literally meaning that section of the sacristy set aside for the storage of liturgical vestments, and figuratively denoting the entire sacristy. And this particular place near the sacristy is described by the chronicler as the King's own oratory. The fact that he offered it to his guests underlines the great importance he attached to the visit. By and large, the text of the chronicle, commenting on the course of the Mass, contains a note saying that the Emperor actually hesitated to accept some of the ceremonial privileges in the Sainte-Chapelle which were due to the French King. And Charles V then made it quite clear to his visitor that the traditional customs had been abandoned in order to accord the visitor due respect, as the Emperor was visiting the King in his kingdom, staying at his palace."

When reserving the northern niche as the King's oratory, Charles V probably followed an earlier tradition established presumably during the reign of Louis IX. That particular northern niche in the Sainte-Chapelle belonged to him as well, and I believe that he shared it with his wife Margaret of Provence whose name is commemorated there in a painted medallion of that patron saint. In this respect, my interpretation somewhat differs from that proposed by other art historians who suppose that the principle of the separation of sexes was respected in the Chapel to a certain extent, so that one oratory was reserved exclusively for the King and the other for the Queen. That issue was also studied by Robert Branner. He noticed that the painted medallions of the patron saints, males (especially the holy Popes) as well as females beneath the windows, which decorate the quatrefoils of the blind arcades, are roughly divided along this line. That is why he came to the following conclusion: "All the popes identified in the medallions are on the south, opposite the king's niche, while all the women are on the north, opposite the queen's. This may go back as far as the Early Christian period, when the congregation was segregated by sex, a pattern sometimes suggested for the separation of male from female saints in San Apollinare Nuovo. But a simple division such as this is not satisfactory for Paris, since male martyrs are also represented on the north, along with the female ones. More likely the sorting out of popes and of women from the general run of martyrs at Paris simply reflects current practice in the chapel itself, whereby the king sat on one side and the queen on the other. Thus the women could be seen by the queen and the pontiffs by the king". (15)

Looking directly at the southern niche, we can see to its right a medallion representing the beheading of St Denis, the patron of France, and to the left, in another trave, the medallion showing the stoning of St Stephen. Wasn't this selection associated with something completely different from the fact that the King was meant to sit looking at the male saints? A solution to this problem can again be suggested by the account of the imperial visit to the Sainte-Chapelle. The text says that one oratory was situated next to the row of benches or stools (chairs), the other oratory next to the sacristy, in original: "et y estoienst deux oratoires, tenduz l'un a destre pres des chaieres, et l'autre a senestre pres du revestiare, et en celui á destre estoit le Roy, et en celui á senestre le roy des Romains." (16)

Using the words benches or stools near the southern oratory, the chronicler meant the places for the clergymen who belonged to the Sainte-Chapelle. And, with this in mind, the selection was made of St Denis and St Stephen, one the holy bishop, the other the holydeacon, both clergymen serving God. Evidently, this had no connection whatsoever with the seating position of the King and the Queen.

The establishment of an oratory on the southern side of the Sainte-Chapelle was determined by the privileged position of the mother of Louis IX, Queen Blanche of Castile (Blanche de Castille) who ruled France as a regent in the years 1226 - 1234 and 1248 - 1252. Reading the memoirs of the nobleman Jean de Joinville, we will discover in his sometimes charmingly human stories just how strong was the authority of the Queen Mother at the Paris court. There was no shortage of highly charged or dramatic events. Joinville writes: "The king was once by his wife's side, at a time when she was in great danger of dying on account of the injuries she had suffered in giving birth to a child. Queen Blanche had come to her room, and taking the king by the hand, had asked him: Gome away; you're doing no good here; Queen Margaret seeing that the Queen Mother was taking the king away, had cried out: 'Alas! Whether I live or die, you will not let me see my husband!' Then she had fainted, and they had all thought she was dead. The king, convinced that she was dying, had turned back and with great difficulty they had brought her round." (17)

Since the relations between Blanche and Margaret were so explosive and strained, one can almost certainly rule out the possibility that the two women could share one oratory in the Sainte-Chapelle. Seen in this light, either the wife of Louis IX sat somewhere else or she shared the same oratory with his husband, an alternative which seems to me to be more plausible.

The fact that it was precisely Blanche of Castile for whom her son once reserved the southern niche is corroborated by the decoration above it. Numerous coats of arms with the castles of Castile, the Queen's native land, figure prominently in the large ornamental quatrefoils. Another plausible theory is the possible connection with the stories of Esther. It was the Swiss researcher Beat Brenk who made the clever observation that the queen from the Old Testament appears here on many an occasion as a good counsellor, hence in a role played by Blanche in real life at Louis's court. The chances are that in composing the scenes the artists possibly found their inspiration directly in the everyday ritual in the Royal Palace in Paris. "Story of Esther as a model for a queen's vita par excellence", Brenk wrote. (18) In one of the scenes, Esther is even quite distinctly represented as an older woman, even though the Bible says she was a beautiful girl who had a good figure. Esther is seen coming before King Xerxes, bowing to him ceremoniously. As if to prevent her from accidentally falling over, one of the servants is holding her from behind by her waist, a gesture without significance had the painter wanted to depict a young woman. This is simply a scene as if taken from the period of the 1240s when Blanche of Castile reached the age of sixty, while Louis IX was less than 35 years old. (19)

Only after the death of Blanche of Castile in November 1252 was the southern niche probably made available to other members of the royal family, and eventually offered to Margaret of Provence, and subsequently to other French queens. Still, I believe that, during the lifetime of Louis IX, this particular oratory could rather be used by the successor to the throne, the young Philip II, and also by the King's highly ambitious brother, Charles I of Anjou, if he happened to be staying at the Paris court. The southern niche became the Queen's oratory probably after the year 1270 when on August 25 Louis IX died in faraway Tunisia and his crown passed to Philip II. The Queen dowager, Margaret of Provence (she lived a long life until December 30, 1295), then may have occupied the place in the Sainte-Chapelle once reserved for Blanche of Castile. The specific example of the visit to the Chapel by Charles IV and Wenceslas IV also provides a graphic description of the fact that, in the royal family, the use of the southern oratory was not bound up with some totally unchangeable rules. In actual fact, the existence of two oratories eventually became useful for major state visits. As a result, Charles V could offer his own northern oratory to the Emperor and the Roman King and he himself could take the seat once reserved by Louis IX for the Queen Mother.

Let us return to the mass attended by Emperor Charles IV in the Sainte-Chapelle on January 6, 1378. That day was the feast of Epiphany, the holiday of The Three Holy Kings. That was why a liturgical ceremony whose protagonists were the French King and the Archbishop of Reims took place in front of the main altar. The chronicler describes the scene in great detail, allowing us to reconstruct it quite easily. Three ceremonially dressed knights (trois chevaliers) came up to the main altar. Each carried in his hands a valuable richly enamelled gold cup. The first contained gold, the second frankincense and the third myrrh. Together with the French king they all knelt down before the archbishop. The first offering - gold - was handed to the king by the courtier holding gold; Charles V made the offering and kissed the archbishop's hand. The second offering - frankincense - was handed by the second courtier who was holding it. He passed it on to the first knight who handed it to the king, and the ruler duly made the offering, again kissing the archbishop's hand. The third offering, myrrh, was handed by the courtier who was holding it in his cup. He passed it on to the second knight who handed it over to the first one who passed it to the king, and the sovereign, having kissed the archbishop's hand, made the third offering. (20) Identical gifts were brought to the new born Jesus in Bethlehem by the three kings. As Jacobus de Voragine wrote in The Golden Legend, gold was related to taxes, frankincense to offering, and myrrh to the burial of the dead. This was a symbolic announcement of Christ's regal power, divine majesty and human mortality. Gold denoted the most valuable wealth, frankincense the most pious soul, and myrrh innocent flesh. (21)

The arrival and the adoration of the three kings, an historical event dating to the time of Christ's infancy, was performed as liturgical plays in medieval towns down to the smallest and most fascinating details. For instance, on January 6, 1336 the Dominican monks staged a spectacular performance in Milan, featuring the Biblical kings and their numerous entourages. Accompanied by the tolling of the bells and the blowing of many trumpets, their procession left the church S. Maria delle Grazie, embarking on a route through the town which measured several miles. The whole spectacle was watched by huge crowds of people lining the streets. Onlookers admired the sumptuously dressed kings on horseback, soldiers and servants, mules carrying luggage, and especially exotic animals, including a herd of camels. The allegorical procession arrived at the church of S. Lorenzo where a herald was awaiting. He showed the kings their way to the spot where Jesus had just been born. Acting according to his instructions, the procession then walked on to the church of S. Eustorgio where a crib was standing near the altar. There the three kings deposited the gifts they had brought for the Child of God. (22)

What happened in the Sainte-Chapelle 42 years later in the presence of Emperor Charles IV was a purely symbolic image. The lively and noisy event in the streets of towns changed into a silent series of ceremonial gestures, a liturgical spectacle of supreme quality. The three courtiers, the king, the archbishop and a silent congregation of court dignitaries, including very special guests from Bohemia. No loud trumpets, no noisy crowds. On the contrary, this was Biblical history transformed into a refined and sophisticated courtly ceremony, a composition carved into a gold-covered ivory tablet. Chances are that such also were the liturgical ceremonies commemorating the three holidays Louis IX selected for the Sainte-Chapelle. These included the annual commemoration of the day when Christ's crown arrived in France or rather when the French King officially received it. Then came the feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross and finally the holiday of the Holy Relics.

The last remark is related to the chronicler's claim that very many people visited the Sainte-Chapelle. When on January 5. 1378 King Wenceslas, accompanied by Charles V, came to attend vespers, there were so many people in the Chapel that they could all hardly squeeze inside. As on the following day, January 6 the Emperor himself was expected to come, the French King was afraid of large crowds thronging the Chapel, and to prevent that he ordered his guards to protect the gates of the Palace still more efficiently. As a result of this measure, nobody could enter the Sainte-Chapelle save for courtiers, pages and other noble visitors. This remark is certainly worth our attention. It is generally claimed that the upper Chapel was reserved for the choicest company made up of the members of the royal court, while the lower Chapel was used by common staff and servants. The Chapel was said to be opened to the public only once a year, this piece of information coming from Christine de Pisan, a distinguished poetess who served at the court in Paris at the end of the 14th and beginning of the 15th centuries. (23) However, the authentic description of the visit by Charles IV and Wenceslas IV makes it abundantly clear that there were probably more such occasions, and that a socially wider section of the population had access to the upper Chapel than was originally thought. After all, the King of France would have hardly deployed special guards and ordered them to protect the gates of the Palace just to ward off high-ranking court dignitaries who could be expected to comply with the prescribed rules of etiquette anyway! On the contrary, the text indicates that he was evidently afraid of chaos and huge crowds of curious people, fears which tend to confirm a well-established practice rather than point to an exception to the prevailing ritual.

On the political importance of the visit to Paris paid by Charles IV in 1378 see J. Spěváček, Karel IV (Charles IV). Praha 1979, p. 470 ff, and especially F. Seibt, Karl IV, Ein Kaiser in Europa 1346 bis 1378 (quoted according to the Czech edition Karel IV, císař v Evropě /1346- 1378/) (Charles IV, the Emperor in Europe). Praha 1999, p. 343 ff. The account of the visit is to be found in the Chronicle of the Reign of John II and Charles V, the French text according to the edition Les Grandes Chroniques de France: Chronique des régnes de Jean II et de Charles V (editor R. Delachenal). Paris 1916, p. 193 ff. Czech translation of those passages was published by J. Pavel under the title Cesta císaře Karla IV. do Francie (Emperor Charles IV's Journey to France). Praha 1937. The visit by Charles IV and his son Wenceslas is mentioned in the context of the functioning of the Sainte-Chapelle in the following works: J.-M. Leniaud - F. Perrot, La Sainte Chapelle. Paris 1991, p. 91; A. Legner, Reliquien in Kunst und Kult. Darmstadt 1995, pp. 201 and 377.

The Byzantines viewed the export and import of relics in 1239 and 1241 as a disaster. That was also why the legend was born that the French had not managed to carry all the relics from Constantinople. The so-called Travels of Sir John Mandeville from the 14th century say, for instance, that Christ's crown of thorn had allegedly been divided into two parts of which one half was carried to Paris and the other half remained in Constantinople. It was also claimed that the sponge was kept in the capital of Byzantium even though it had demonstrably been purchased by Louis IX. Only in the case of the point of the spear Longinus used to pierce Christ's side, the author of the Travels claims that that point was in Paris but that it is also owned by the Byzantine Emperor, He claims to have seen both points, and the difference between them is that the one in Constantinople was wider than the one in Paris. The so-called Travels of Sir John Mandeville (old Czech version from the 15th century) was published by F. Šimek, Praha 1963. p. 27 f. A complete list of the relics acquired by Louis IX is given in the gift and purchase covenant signed by the King and the Latin Emperor Baldwin II of Courtenay in Saint Germain en Laye near Paris in June 1247. The document was published by: S. J. Morand, Histoire de la Sainte-Chapelle Royale du Palais. Paris 1790, pp. 7 and 8. See also H. Bauer, Der Apostelzyklus der Sainte Chapelle in Paris (Dissertation at the Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität Munich). München 1983, p. 13.

R. Branner, The Grande Châsse of the Sainte-Chapelle. Gazette des Beaux-Arts 1971, p. 16; W. Sauerländer, Die Sainte-Chapelle du Palais Ludwigs des Heiligen. Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften Jahrbuch 1977. München 1977, p. 110; L. Grodecki, Sainte Chapelle. Paris 1979, p. 37.

Joinville, Vie de saint Louis (ed. J. Monfrin). Paris 1998, pp. 364 - 365.

Joinville - Villehardouin, Chronicles of the Crusades. London 1963. p. 345.

R. Branner. The Painted Medallions in the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 58, Philadelphia (American Philosophical Society) 1968, p. 10; R. Branner, The G rande Châsse of the Sainte-Chapelle. Gazette des Beaux-Arts 1971, pp. 14 ff.

R. Branner, The Grande Châsse of the Sainte-Chapelle. Gazette des Beaux-Arts 1971, p. 16.

This provisional platform is depicted in the Sainte-Chapelle on oneof the stained glass paintings which belongs to the cycle describing the transport of the Crown of Thorns. The crown displayed to the crowds is protected in the middle by the bishop, with the king and the queen standing on the side. Also during the visit by Charles IV, the King of France had the open reliquary case guarded by two bishops. M. Aubert - L. Grodecki - J. Lafond - J. Verrier, Les vitraux de Notre-Dame et de la Sainte-Chapelle de Paris. Paris 1959, p. 307, catalogue A-71, out of that cycle this is of the few well-preserved 13th-century stained glass paintings.

O. von Simson, Opere superante materiam. Zur Bedeutung der Sainte Chapelle zu Paris, in: Von der Macht des Bildes in Mittelalter. Berlin 1993, p. 141. See also O. von Simson, Das Mittelalter II. Propyläen Kunstgeschichte. Berlin 1990 (research edition), p. 65 f.

J. de Voragine, The Golden Legend (translated by W. Granger Ryan). Princeton, New Jersey 1993, Volume 1, p. 207.
J.-M. Leniaud - F. Perrot. La Sainte Chapelle. Paris 1991, fig. p. 89.

These decorative sculptures - although affected by 19th-century restoration - evidently faithfully reproduce the original decoration. For more information on that see B. Brenk, The Sainte-Chapelle as a Capellan Political Program, in: Artistic Integration in Gothic Buildings (ed. V. Chieffo Raguin - K. Brush - P. Draper). University of Toronto Press 1995, p. 199. Beat Brenk also studied in detail the iconography of both niches in connection with the issue of royal representation.

W. Liebenwein, Privatoratorien des 14. Jahrhunderts, in: Die Parler und der Schöne Stil 1350 - 1400. Köln 1978, Third Part. p. 190. Similarly D. Kimpel - R. Suckale in their book Die gotische Architektur in Frankreich 1130 - 1270 (München 1995, 2nd edition, p. 402) reproduce the oratory on the northern side with the following text: "Gebetsnische der Königin in der Oberkapelle auf der Nordseite."

Referring to the description of the visit by Emperor Charles IV to the Sainte Chapelle in 1378, Jean-Michel Leniaud and Françoise Perrot say that the northern niche was used by the King as his oratory, the southern niche as the Queen's oratory and the place of the treasurer of the Chapel was found on the northern side. i.e. somewhere near the King's oratory. But there is not a single word in the text saying that the southern oratory would be reserved for the Queen and the place of the treasure is not described exactly either. J.-M. Leniaud - F. Perrot, La Sainte Chapelle. Paris 1991, pp. 90 - 91.

R. Branner, The Painted Medallions in the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 58. Philadelphia (American Philosophical Society) 1968, p. 14.

Les Grandes Chroniques de France: Chronique des régnes de Jean II et de Charles V(ed. R. Delachenal). Paris 1916. p. 229.

(17) Joinville, Vie de saint Louis (ed.J. Monfrin). Paris 1998, pp. 300 - 301 (Chapter No. 606 to 608): Joinville - Villehardouin. Chronicles of the Crusades. London 1963, p. 316.

B. Brenk, The Sainte-Chapelle as a Capetian Political Program, in: Artistic Integration in Gothic Buildings (ed. V. Chieffo Raguin - K. Brush - P. Draper). University of Toronto Press 1995, p. 204.

A detailed explanation and a quality reproduction of this scene are presented by J.-M. Leniaud - F. Perrot, La Sainte Chapelle. Paris 1991, p. 194 f.

Cesta císaře Karla IV. do Francie. (Emperor Charles IV's Journey to France). Prague 1937, p. 56 ff.

J. de Voragine, The Golden legend (translated by William Granger Ryan). Princeton, New Jersey 1993, Volume 1, pp. 83 f. See also Lexikon der christlichen Ikonographie (ed. E. Kirschbaum). Freiburg 1968, First Part, p. 539.

E. Male, Religious Art in France - The Late Middle Age. Princeton University Press 1986, p. 65.

D. H. Weiss, Art and Crusade in the Age of Saint Louis. Cambridge 1998, pp. 18 and 222; Ch. de Pisan, Le Livre des Faits et Bonnes Moeurs du roi Charles V le Sage (ed. E. Hicks - T. Moreau). Paris 1997, p. 102.


Tato studie Petera Kováče byla citována v těchto článcích a publikacích:

Caspar Ehlers (ed), Deutsche Konigspfalzen. Band 8: Places of Power - Orte der Herrschaft - Lieux du Pouvoir (Veroffentlichungen des Max-Planck-Instituts fur Geschichte) (German Edition), s. 121.

František Šmahel, Cesta Karla IV. do Francie (1377-1378), Praha 2006, s. 354.

Pavel Kroupa, Točité vřetenové schodiště na hudební kruchtu v kostele sv. Jakuba v Nepomuku, v: Památky západních Čech III – 2013, s. 65-75, citace s. 65 a 74.

Meredith Cohen, The Sainte-Chapelle and the Construction of Sacral Monarchy: Royal Architecture in Thirteenth-Century Paris, Cambridge University Press, New York 2015, s. 253.

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