Bernard of Clairvaux and architectural aesthetics

This video is a reflection on the importance of architectural aesthetics in the work of the great political and religious Cistercian reformer Bernard of Clairvaux. Starting point is his the criticism of the Cluniac Romanesque art in his Apology to William de Saint-Thierry. In this letter to his friend, Bernard exposes the danger that the representation of non-real subjects (monsters and other fantastic creatures) can represent in diverting the monks from the rational search for the divine.
The Apology is part of a running feud of Bernard with the Benedictine abbey of Cluny and its many dependent houses. Cluniac monasticism tended to be more integrated with society than Cistercian. Its houses extended hospitality to travelers and some Cluniac abbeys were important pilgrimage centers. Thus abbey churches were often large and sumptuously decorated, their services complex and elaborate. Against that Bernard rebelled in his Apology.

Source, adapted, Schwerpunkt on YouTube and Fordham University.

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