Monday, March 23, 2009

Europe and then some

saint john the divine 1/5
Originally uploaded by musiquegirl

Just to prove this blogs motto, "it's all here anyway," here are Ghiberti's North American doors. Cram would have none such copying, by the way, hence he commissioned impressive new bronze doors (depicted above) for St. John the Divine. Some nice details of the south New Testament door here.

Incidentally, Maureen Mullarkey's article on the North American tour of the original Gates of Pardise is a tour de force.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lenten Special

St. Bernadette's
Originally uploaded by millinerd

And here's the inside.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Flannery's Church

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Savannah
Originally uploaded by millinerd

John H., a friend who was driving through Savannah, sent in this shot (with info) of the home church of Flannery O'Connor. There is some nice exegesis of the interior at the church website, but I thought the menacing trees in John's photo was very O'Connoresque.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Cathedrals Gone Wild

The quality of flickr photography of the newly renovated Cathedral of St. John the Divine (which could have been otherwise) is duly impressive. This one - because of the menacing lights - was my favorite, though I recently took a few myself:

Call me prudish, but I thought St. Bernard's stained glass vision was a bit much. Not to mention Ruth seducing Naomi in the stonework. Then there's the matter of the pin-up tympanum on the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. It will come as no surprise that these are both Episcopal Cathedrals.

I'm well aware that salacious imagery on churches has a long history, and I'm all for a nuanced appreciation of Bernard's Song of Songs sermons, but about these depictions I just don't know. Yes, the Christian tradition teaches that the body is good - but it also teaches that we aren't. Hence, you can get away with things in the realm of literature that you can't get away with in art. Still, I would represent my level of suspicion in regard to these representations as a yellow light, not necessarily a red one - though I'm open to being convinced otherwise.

What I can say is that at least at the Saint John the Divine portal, most will be distracted by a more remarkable carving, the twin towers falling in an imagined apocalyptic scene, carved in... wait for it... 1997.

Monday, March 2, 2009

An Architecture Timeline

I made a timeline for a presentation I did, and thought I would share it here. I've put in most of the major movements in North American church architecture. While it shows bars as to when they begin and end, of course there are many after each bar ends, and, in some cases, some before. I've tried to just show the major time periods. I also put some major events that had bearing on church architecture below it. See if I left anything out you think is important (other than the Akron plan—which I really considered).

Complimentary Cram

It's nice to see that Ralph Adams Cram's Ministry of Art is free online. I am usually suspicious of those who glorify art, but not as much with Cram. Perhaps this is because he understood clearly that "religion leads, it does not follow" (My Life in Architecture, 276). That from about the only Cram book that's not free at the Internet Archive. Wow.