Motherland Tour II/ Czech Republic
St Nicholas Choir and Apse, Prague, Czech Republic.
The Church of St Nicholas is a excellent example of High Baroque architecture. Built between 1704-1755, it is one of the most valuable Baroque buildings north of the Alps. Three generations of great Baroque architects – father, son and son-in-law – worked on the church: Kryštof Dientzenhofer, Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer and Anselmo Lurago. The Baroque organs have over 4,000 pipes up to six metres in length and were played by Mozart in 1787. Mozart’s spectacular masterpiece, Mass in C, was first performed in the Church of Saint Nicholas shortly after his visit.
Baroque was a period of artistic style that was popular during the High and Late Middle Ages (15th- 17th centuries) and is characterized by drama, rich color, and dramatic contrast between light and shadow. It used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, architecture, literature, dance, theater, and music.
Baroque vs Gothic:
Compare this image to my last post, St Vitus Cathedral Choir and Apse, which is a Late Gothic Cathedral (started in 1344) . This style of architecture flourished during the High and Late medieval period (11th – 14th centuries), and incorporated soaring towers, spires, ribbed vaults, and flying buttresses which enabled the use of thinner walls and larger windows than previously feasible during the Romanesque architecture of the early middle ages.
Which style do you prefer?
St Vitus Cathedral: Choir, Apse – Prague, Czech Republic
Motherland Tour II/ Czech Republic
St Vitus Choir and Apse, Prague, Czech Republic.
Roman Catholic Gothic Cathedral was founded on 21 November 1344 . This cathedral is an excellent example of Gothic architecture and is the biggest and most important church in the country. Located within Prague Castle , it contains the tombs of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors.
God’s Architect, Antoni Gaudí, appears to have designed this window to allow him to look down from the heavens and offer divine inspiration to those constructing his masterpiece.
Young Gaudí was a well groomed man with a penchant for expensive suits, gourmet food, and the theater. As he grew older, he became increasingly more devoted to his profession and less concerned with grooming and the fine life. He ate more frugally, dressed in old, worn-out suits, and neglected his appearance to the point where people thought he was a street beggar. In fact, on June 7th, 1926, Gaudí was taking his routine stroll to a local church when he was hit by a street car. People passing assumed from his appearance that he was homeless, and no authorities were contacted until it was too late. He later died after ultimately being transported by taxi to a local hospital.
Gaudí’s Sagrada Família Basilica
Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926), known as God’s Architect, was a Catalan (Spanish) architect and a critical player in the Catalan Moderistá architectural movement. Considered the Great Master of Catalan Modernism, he is Barcelona’s most famous Moderista artist.
Gaudí’s masterpice is Barcelona’s still-uncompleted Sagrada Famíia Basilica (Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família ), which he worked on from 1883 until his death in 1926. Describing Sagrada Família, art critic Rainer Zerbst said, “It is probably impossible to find a church building anything like it in the entire history of art” and called it, “The most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages.”
Here is an HDR shot of the ceiling of the nave. Gaudi was inspired by the forms found in nature, as is evidenced in the columns seen here in the nave. They are designed to represent trees, with the upper portions dividing into branches as they form the vaults of the ceiling. The ceiling also contains numerous small windows which let light filter in like the canopy of a rain forest. The Sagrada Familia has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site. I consider this one of the most unique pieces of architecture that I have seen in all of Europe, and consider it a definite “must see”.