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Photographer's Note

The Sainte-Chapelle was built during the second half of the XIIIth century by King Louis IX, the future St Louis, to house the relics of Christ's Passion. Decorated with a unique set of fifteen stained glass panels and a large rose window to create a veritable wall of coloured light, the Sainte-Chapelle is undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of French Gothic architecture.

In 1239, after two years of negotiations, Louis IX paid a considerable sum of money to secure Christ's Crown of Thorns from Beaudoin II, Emperor of Constantinople. In 1241, he acquired more relics from Byzantium and then decided to erect a monument worthy of this treasure within the walls of the Cité Palace itself.

The building work was completed in record time, between 1242 and 1248. Its chief architect, sometimes said to have been called Pierre de Montreuil, has never been identified with any certainty. Both the Palace Chapel and a reliquary, the Sainte Chapelle is made up of the Lower Chapel, for the Palace staff, and the Upper Chapel, where the relics were kept, which was only accessible to the clergy, the King, his family and closest friends.

Apart from the magnificent stained glass windows, the Sainte Chapelle is decorated with wall paintings, faithfully renovated in the XIXth century, together with remarkably fine and varied sculptures. The splendour of the architecture, its decoration and the ceremonial acts of worship associated with these relics had a marked influence on artistic and liturgical creativity up until the XVIth century.

As a symbol of royalty and religion, the Sainte Chapelle suffered a great deal of damage during the Revolution. Then, in the middle of the XIXth century it underwent exemplary restoration work directed by Duban, Lassus and Boeswillwald.

Voir la galerie photo de la Sainte-Chapelle à Paris

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Additional Photos by Jonathan Haider (jhaider) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 57 W: 51 N: 107] (1234)
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