Monday, November 5


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Before somewhere I've written about the scale of St. Peter's Basilica. Take for example the statue hanging on the arch of the image down there on the lower right. That object is about 18 feet from head to toe. It's astonishing that it was apparently carved from a single piece of marble. But even more amazing is the way the artist engineered it to fit up there. Imagine the force of this immense weight against whatever devices that were designed to hold it there. And imagine that the artist not only created the work from that single piece of stone, but also crafted it to match all of the engineering dynamics which were required to fit it and hold it in that position!

It is just a small part of a gargantuan archway. Holy Basilicas!

That angel on the lower left? I am six feet tall. It is about twice my size in every dimension and perfectly matches its twin on the other side of a holywater font. Again the two of them are somehow hung against that tribute plaque to a long ago Pope who commissioned the entire piece.

Behold the gilding all over this set. And except for the angel, all of this hangs forty to sixty feet above the marbled floors. The awesome grandeur of all of this defies photography. You step into this huge place and become agape.

I'm overwhelmed by conflicting emotions. Part of me is stunned by the combined talent on display another is appalled at the opulence of this seat of the Roman Church's piety. The thing is, you cannot absorb this scale, or the details. It's only as I sort out the these images and peer at the fragments that I'm able to begin to react to this cavernous space and what has been wrought within it. Wrought is a good word here. I find myself using words like wrought and behold. They are not words easily fit into conversations. But the place has got a whole bundh of serious wroughting done to it.

As I look at these images keep muttering... "Wow!" And wondering if any place now on earth is more extravagant than this. Anybody got a candidate?


GEEK STUFF: These images were all taken with my Canon EOS 20D on 10/4/07 at around 11 am: The lens was my 17-85mm (f4-5.6). While the effective focal lengths and speeds varied based upon a metering Mode set to Pattern, exposure bias 0, and processed in Camera RAW. Each image is presented full frame. Note that I do not use a tripod so these were all handheld at ISO 400.


advman said...

A place more extravagant? Probably not. There are lots of other big churches, some of them almost as big, like Canterbury, Notre Dame de Paris, the Dome of Cologne, etc, but what makes San Pietro so unique, is the architecture itself.

We are accustomed to gothic cathedrals being narrow, relatively high and very long, but all other churches of this late renaissance/early baroque type, are much smaller. San Pietro looks so incredibly oversized for its type. In any case, I know how you felt there :)

Btw, that's a gorgeous angel in the lower left quarter:)


Ashley said...

I like how you put photos together in somewhat of a collage. I don't know much about photography, but attempted to do this through photoshop. (Not the one on my profile... that was a pro)
I posted it on my Dog Blog, if you want to check it out and let me know what you think.
Does it matter if you select some photos of landscape of some of people, or if some are close up and some far away?
Also, I linked your blog to my Travel Blog... hope you don't mind :)