Catholic Art and Architecutre thread

The Catholic Church has inspired 2000 years worth of art and architecure. Many forms and styles have been developed and perfected over the centuries leaving many of the wonders of the world- testaments to faith, intellect and creativity.

This is the thread to post pictures and discuss the art and architecture of the Church, from the traditional to the modern to the truly bizarre.

Enjoy :smiley:

St. Patricks NYC

We took our kids in 2004. To me, this is the epitome of Catholic architecture. We will be taking the kids again, once the spring hits and we feel like taking the baby on the subways.

Rococo and Baroque have to be my favourite styles of Church Architecture. They are truly fitting for the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Presence of Our Lord himself.

One of my specific fav. Churches is the Basilica in Ottobeuren, Germany.


How much more Catholic can one get?

Just to show you all that bizarre forms of church art and architecture did in fact exist before the 1960s, here is the the Chapel at Sedlec, Czech Republic:

The cemetary at the Cisterican Abbey in Sedlec (modern-day Czech Republic) was a major burial site in the middle ages. In 1511, to create some space in the cemetary, many of the bodies there (including over 30,000 from the Great Plague) were unearthed and moved to the All Saints Chapel on the site (dating from the 1400s). The task of organizing and stacking the bones in this new ossuary complex was given to a blind monk. In 1870 the Shwartzenberg family, which now owned the cemetary, hired artist and architect Frantisek Rindt to redecorate the Chapel. And he redecorated- with over 40,000 skeletons at his disposal.

Pictures of the Altar

An over-sized chalice made of bones

The Shwartzenberg Family coat-of-arms

This chandelier contains every bone in the human body sveral times over

Frantisek Rindt wanted to demonstrate the inevitability of death in his work, such as this cross over the chapel door.

and many more photographs of this truly unique chapel can be found here:

Caesar - certainly interesting… :stuck_out_tongue:

Enough to give you the creeps though, surrounded by a load of 500 year old skulls. :eek:

You PIC posters are the greatest!
I have a long hallway & to give it some interest I frame the outstanding Sanctuaries I have visited or seen on the inet in 8x12 & 14x18 frames.
Everyone slows down going down that hall.
Keep it up. It ain’t full yet.

My favorite is Victorian Gothic and other forms of neo-Gothic because it could range from fairly simple and understated to out of control and amazingly ornate - yet always promote a prayerful environment because of the verticality and richness of it. I recently visited a small church with an amazing interior - the building dated from the 1880s, but was gutted by fire in the 1920’s. The interior was filled with elaborately carved Gothic woodwork (a high altar and two side altars, pews, chairs, a lovely crucifix and stations of the cross, etc). The space was very intimate and beautiful. However, I also love neoclassical, baroque, art deco, and a handful modern styles.

Also, I think the church I regularly attend is unusual in a good way. The church was built in the mid 1960’s, so one expects to find a typically bland suburban church, especially if you judge it from the exterior. Yet, when I first walked in I was struck by the beautiful old Gothic high altar, stations of the cross, and Crucifix. I figured these things must have pre-dated the church, and upon finding the parish website I found that they indeed did. The church had moved from a 1906 building and had re-used the altar (now set behind a stone freestanding altar), statues, crucifix, stations, pews, and confessional from the old church (the pews fell apart by the 90’s and had been replaced, and the confessional was moved to a closet at the same time and replaced by a reconcilliation room). This uncharacteristic-for-the-1960’s preservation of old religious art had always puzzled me. Then I talked to someone who works at the church, and she told me that the church building was designed to be a gymnasium for the attached gradeschool. It was only meant to be a temporary home until a new church was built - something that never happened. Then everything suddenly made sense - they kept the old stuff because it would have been silly to spend a fortune decorating a temporary church. I suspect that most of those things would have been replaced as soon as a new church was built.

I think it is sort of funny how people here compain about how their churches were designed to look like gymnasiums, yet my church was designed to be a gym and actually looks like a Catholic church.

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