“Quale sit intus in his” – A Note about Abbot Suger’s Bronze Doors in Saint-Denis
This article is merely a note on the reading of Abbot Suger’s inscription on his gilded bronze doors on Saint-Denis’s west façade, handed down through his own writing De rebus in administratione sua gestis from 1144/45–1148/49. In particular the discussion concerns the translation of the second and sixth verses of the eight-line inscription, and the understanding of in his in verse six constitutes its focal point. In this new reading the focus is on the rhetorical use of gold to emulate the nature of spiritual light, which, when seen with the inner eye of faith, is able to lift the mind of the beholder towards the vision of eternal bliss. The author does not go into a closer discussion of the sources of Suger’s inspiration, Pseudo-Dionysius or a Western tradition in a broader sense, but his argument is based on the view that lumina vera specifically refer to Christ’s work of redemption, represented in the golden reliefs of the doors. Further support for this reading is provided by a reference to an inscription on a Danish golden frontal from around 1200.