Saturday, February 28, 2015

If it's not Baroque, don't fix it


MELK ABBEY by Catherine L. Gauldin
Pastel and Colored Pencil on paper
16 x 20
Collection of the artist 
Whereas the cavernous interior of the Basilica of St Peter in Rome is dimly lit and monumental Renaissance in scale, the interior of the chapel of Melk Abbey in Austria is a symphony of flowing Baroque exhuberance.  Particularly noteworthy is the abbey church with frescos by Johann Michael Rottmayr and the impressive library with countless medieval manuscripts.   

Melk Abbey rises on a promontory high above the Danube River and is located in Melk, between Salzburg and Vienna, Austria.  It is a Benedictine Abbey and when I was there in 2003 I was traveling with a lady who for years taught World History to High School students.  "The Baroque," she said, "was the Church's answer in Architecture to the heresy called the Reformation."  I think she may have been right; the style was the Catholic Church's own version of 'shock and awe', intended to inspire an overpowering ecclesiastical authority and presence.  

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