Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Il changeait la vie

Do any of my readers have stories like this of pieces of art (or architecture, or music, or….) which changed their sense of what art could be about?

My own journey into art began fairly late and was without any such step changes. But with architecture I did have my eyes opened on my first trip to continental Europe at the age of 12. It wasn't at all an arty or cultural trip, but I did spend some time in Frankfurt. Now I'd seen quite a few medieval English cathedrals, so I reckoned I had a good idea of what a medieval cathedral looked like. And it was nothing like this rocket ship:

And in case you wonder whether the rebuild after fire damage in 1867 made substantial changes, here is the original 14th century job:

which is still very different from anything in England. It certainly made me aware that just because a building is old it doesn't have to be old-fashioned. Not long after that I visited Lincoln cathedral and saw the vaulting in the choir. Regular readers will have seen this picture before, but whoever designed the vault was either high on something or the Captain Beefheart of medieval architecture. Vaulting is usually symmetrical, like this:

or this:

Er, not like this:

It always reminds me of a nestful of baby starlings waiting with mouths agape to be fed.

So: what are your eye-openers?


At 06 April, 2009 00:41, Blogger Persephone said...

When I first visited London at age nineteen, we went to the National Gallery and I saw The Virgin and Child with St Anne and St John the Baptist for the very first time. During our brief visit, I sneaked back at least twice to go look at it. It stunned me that something so incomplete could be so completely beautiful. The whole thing seemed to glow.


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