The bicentenary of a great Catholic architect and artist: Augustus Pugin
#11
(06-13-2012, 01:54 AM)The_Harlequin_King Wrote: Oh, it's worth mentioning that even though I generally agree with Pugin and Fortescue that Baroque and Rococo architecture is pagan and unsuited for church, I'm still a fan of Baroque's champion, Gian Lorenzo Bernini. He was made by God to master marble. The problem is that not every Baroque church out there was designed by Bernini, so there are a lot of awful knock-offs. There are plenty of examples of bad Gothic, too, but I think Baroque is easier to mess up.

I love Gothic architecture, but I can see how Renassiance snobs who looked down upon their medieval forbears with a smug sense of superiority would have regarded anything but the finest of Greco-Roman architecture as unfitting for divine worship.
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#12
I visited Washington Memorial Chapel at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania today; a small Episcopal church built in memory of the American Revolutionary soldiers who camped for winter at the site. It's probably the best church of that size, seating maybe 150, that I've ever seen. It was like a miniature version of Saint George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, or even a miniature Westminster Abbey. The failure of the Catholic Church to embrace its Gothic roots in the modern centuries is disappointing me once again.

At the very least, it made me think that if such a small chapel could still have choir stalls, no small Catholic church has an excuse not to have them. In fact, pre-Vatican II sanctuaries seem almost claustrophobically small for some reason.
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#13
(06-15-2012, 07:31 PM)The_Harlequin_King Wrote: I visited Washington Memorial Chapel at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania today; a small Episcopal church built in memory of the American Revolutionary soldiers who camped for winter at the site. It's probably the best church of that size, seating maybe 150, that I've ever seen. It was like a miniature version of Saint George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, or even a miniature Westminster Abbey. The failure of the Catholic Church to embrace its Gothic roots in the modern centuries is disappointing me once again.

At the very least, it made me think that if such a small chapel could still have choir stalls, no small Catholic church has an excuse not to have them. In fact, pre-Vatican II sanctuaries seem almost claustrophobically small for some reason.

A lot of pre-Vatican II sanctuaries are something along the lines of expanded side-chapels.
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#14
(06-15-2012, 08:29 PM)Resurrexi Wrote: A lot of pre-Vatican II sanctuaries are something along the lines of expanded side-chapels.

Sounds contradictory to me to emphasize the sacredness of the sanctuary with our trad rhetoric about altar rails and forbidding EMHC's, while at the same time constructing sanctuary spaces that are so small, open to the public eye, and so close to lay foot traffic.
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#15
Another interesting article on Pugin I read recently: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/...22553.html

Quote:Part of the reason he was able to build so quickly was the coming of the railways. He would wait impatiently for each new line to open so he could build more and more Catholic churches. 'I am such a locomotive,' he wrote, 'being always flying about.'

The team of loyal builders and craftsmen he nurtured knew how to realise a Pugin design without him needing to be on site more than one or two days a month. He refused to employ an assistant. 'A clerk, sir?' he exclaimed, 'why, I should kill him in a week.'

He was wholly uninterested, unlike Sir Charles Barry, in social preferment. He dressed, except on the great feast days of the Church, in a pilot's outfit, his great nautical cloak tricked out with copious pockets for sketchbooks, drawing instruments, spare shirt and underwear. Like sailors of the time, he was long-haired and clean shaven. Like them he was short and powerful.

He had piercing grey eyes, a rolling gait and was rapid in all his movements. He was well travelled too, making 15 major tours of the Continent between 1837 and 1852.

'Like a sailor, too,' wrote his only pupil and future son-in-law, John Hardman Powell, 'Pugin was susceptible with regard to women.' Pugin eloped with his first wife, Anne Garnett, who died in childbirth a year later. He married again, to Louisa Burton, whom he described as a 'perfect Gothic woman', but she died, too. His third wife, Jane Knill, whom he married at the age of 37, managed to outlive him. He fathered eight children. He provided them with curious Gothic houses built to his designs in Salisbury and Ramsgate.

He liked to sing snatches of opera or plain chant in a deep baritone, in private or public, and made the sign of the cross whenever entering a train. An offended businessman travelling up from Ramsgate glared at Pugin and said: 'I say, my man, haven't you made a mistake?' 'Yes,' the Goth replied: 'I took this for first class.'

Pugin's charity was as spontaneous as it was famous. He returned home one day without boots because he had given them to a beggar. He rescued shipwrecked sailors. He clothed them, fed them and built a hostel for them in Ramsgate with his own money.
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