Clairvaux Abbey - 900 years in 3D animation

Watch de video here
The abbey of Clairvaux (today at the commune of Ville-sous-La-Ferté, in the Aube Department, France), the third daughter of the Cistercian abbey of Cîteaux, was founded in the summer of 1115 by Bernard de Fontaine, the later Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153). It was set on the fringes of the duchy of Burgundy, the county of Champagne and the bishopric of Langres, along the Roman road linking Milan to Boulogne-sur-Mer, 15 km from Bar-sur-Aube. Under this first abbatiate, the monastery was to have an extraordinary influence in the whole of the medieval West, to such an extent that Clairvaux had 339 direct and indirect daughters in 1250. 
Although the total number of monks who lived in Clairvaux at its peak is unknown, it is certain that 888 passed through the abbey in the first forty years of its existence. This influence was reflected in successive reconstructions of ever more imposing buildings. 
Although the architectural changes were permanent, Clairvaux Abbey went through three main stages: 
  1. a first stage corresponding to the construction of the Monasterium vetus, i.e. the first monastery to be built in the Petit Clairvaux enclosure, which was in operation between 1115 and 1135, destroyed in 1812, and whose general state is known only from an 18th century engraving,
  2. a second stage of construction of a new monastery, begun in 1135 to cope with the influx of monks, in the Grand Clairvaux enclosure. The abbey church, perhaps initially with a flat chevet, was endowed with a large choir with an ambulatory after 1153, 
  3. a third stage which corresponds to a total reconstruction of the monastery throughout the 18th century, with the exception of the abbey church. It is the buildings of this last phase that remain today for the most part. 
The French Revolution dispersed the monks and the abbey was sold as national property on 10 February 1792. The State acquired it in 1808 in order to install the largest French prison of the 19th century (common law and political prisoners). In 1971, the 18th century the Grand Cloister was disused and the prisoners were transferred to the new prison, built within the walls, partly on the foundations of the 12th century abbey church (destroyed in 1812). Today, the Clairvaux site is still controlled by the Ministries of Justice and Culture and access to it remains restricted.

Text translated and adapted from this source. Illustration early Clairvaux Abbey in 1115, a still from the video.
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