21 November, 2007

Chiezas of Italy: compare+contrast part 1

No I didn't visit Japan. I visited Italy. Florence and Venice specifically. This first post shows four images from Florence. Two are of San Miniato al Monte, which is on a hill overlooking Florence. The other two are of Florence's most dominant architectural piece: the Duomo, also known as Santa Maria del Fiori. The churches were constructed with some overlap in time, but Miniato was about 200 years older. Both of course were a part of the Catholic (though Benedictine - Miniato, and Dominican - Duomo) church but differ greatly in most design aspects. The exteriors look somewhat similar here, with colored (sienna red or green) lines dividing up the facade, but the focii are very different. With Tadao Ando's Church of Light, the focus, the intent of you being there, is in your face. It's opposite is Santa Maria del Fiori with the dominant decoration, geometry, and color going on on the exterior. Also inside, the walls and ceilings of the Duomo are relatively plain, with exception given to the painted domes and some paintings. The art that does exist seems to be more for decoration. The floor is of particular interest, there are crazy geometric patterns everywhere. I'm sure this has to do with the renaissance approaching and a renewed interest in logic and order. Consequently, their God is a god of logic, pattern, nature, and order. The cross and images of saints are secondary. The reverse is true with San Miniato al Monte. I'll talk more about the comparisons and contrasts in religious architure in italy later in my case studies...

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