Architectural Theory: William Durandus, The Symbolism of Churches...

Architectural Theory
Volume 1 - An Anthology From Vitruvius to 1870
edited by: Harry Francis Mallgrave
A. Classical and Medieval Traditions

William Durandus
The Symbolism of Churches and Church Ornaments (1286)

William Durandus was French a prominent theorist of canon law in high Gothic times. He became the Bishop of Mende in 1286.

• Stained glass windows on a church protect its parishioners from the elements (wind/rain etc) yet let in sunlight “that is, God, into the hearts of the faithful” (24). The windows are also a great example of what humans should be; which are, closed off to the vanities of the world “and open to receive with all freedom spiritual gifts” (24).

• The entrance to the church is Jesus. “according in the Gospel, “I am the door” (24)

• The columns/piers are related to bishops and doctors:

“The bases of the columns are apostolic bishops, who support the frame of the whole church. The capitals of the piers are of the opinions of the bishops and doctors. For as the members are directed and moved by the head, so are our words and works governed by their mind. The ornaments of the capitals are the words of Sacred Scripture, to the meditation and observance of which we are bound” (24).

• The church’s pavement is the foundation of their faith. It is also linked to the humility of their lowered class parishioner.

• “The beams which join together the church are...the preachers who defend the unity of the Church, the one by deed the other by argument” (25)

*These notes/writings I've taken from reading the stories in the book which I purchased for the arch theory class ARC1201. I am posting this so I can have easy access to the material and spread my knowledge of the readings to others. I am no expert if anything is wrong or misrepresented please let me know.

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