ARC 232 discussion board: TOPIC 02

TOPIC 02: Renaissance & Baroque

The dominant patron in Italy through the Renaissance and Baroque periods was the Church. Considering a few great examples of each period–the calm and powerful clarity of the Renaissance as seen at San Lorenzo (Florence) or San Andrea (Mantua) vs. the dramatic and emotional energy of the Baroque as seen in San Andrea al Quirinale or S. Ivo della Sapienza (both Rome), which of these four examples do you think provides the most inspiring space for worship? Name your choice from this short list and briefly explain why that is the case.

Response: comment on at least two colleagues’ posts by next Thursday.

99 Comments

  1. Reply
    Maxwell Starcevich January 31, 2018

    It’s hard to say which of these buildings would be most inspiring without having visited. However, after watching videos of the interiors, I found San Andrea in Mantua to be the most inspiring space. I appreciate that Alberti incorporated Renaissance principles into the outer design, but left the interior free from Greek/Roman orders. The massive barrel vaults that extend down the nave and into the chapels create a sense of three dimensional perpendicularity. There is a reverent, effortless beauty to the interior. San Lorenzo is also nice, but the presence of orders distracts me. The flat ceiling is not as majestic as San Andrea.

    In my opinion, the Baroque buildings seem to get lost in their own complexity. Each designer sought to fill the spaces with complex geometries, but they treated each surface differently. It is as if they designed the surfaces and then colored them with lines and sculpture. San Andrea, by contrast, is clear in form. For a building that’s sole purpose is to serve as a venue for delivering objective truth, confusing complexity contradicts its very nature.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      Curious that you find orders ‘distracting’ but the barrel vault is not?

      • Reply
        Maxwell Starcevich February 5, 2018

        Yes, I find the orders distracting when they are put into a new context merely for ideological purposes. It isn’t that I am missing the symbolism…I understand that they hearken back to the ideals of ancient Greece and Rome. Drawing a connection between an ideal and present beauty in a foreign context seems to miss the mark. Perhaps I merely hold this opinion because I live in a context that looks for novel ideas.

        However, those orders (Greek) were used in specific building types (Temples, Stoas), and had a direct connection to plants found in Greek nature and Greek motifs. (That isn’t to say the Greeks didn’t have outside influence, just to say that the orders developed naturally from their contexts. For instance, they didn’t directly borrow lotus columns from the Egyptians, even though Egypt was one of the most powerful civilizations in the world. All that to say, there is a place for the orders, but only when they are used intentionally, not simply because that’s what everyone else did. The architects who professed Renaissance humanistic ideals, made it a point to not accept past dogma simply because of tradition.

        I see the barrel vault as a simple shape. Multiple cultures came up with it, and it is a more universal form. Though I see the connection to Roman forms, it is not a specific a form as say a Corinthian column. The barrel vault plays equally with space, additive and subtractive. A barrel vault has a structural elegance about it. A column does as well, but the orders involve more than mere structure. They are ornamental.

        If ornament is simply designing small details, then it is no less important than the large ones. And if the large details (dimensions of walls, naves, etc) are designed to fit their contexts for each building, how much more should the small details (ornament) be designed to fit their context?

        • Reply
          Adam Wise February 8, 2018

          I think it could be argued that much of the Greek aesthetic employed was not done simply for the sake of it. The Renaissance did not only bring a revival of Greek and Roman architectural trends, but it also redefined those trends. Both Antonio Averlino and Francesco di Giorgio come to mind in how they began to contextualize Greek architectural tradition with Christian symbolism. I believe that the inclusion of Greek ornamentation could very well be interpreted as a worshipful act in this context.

    • Reply
      Aaron Foster February 8, 2018

      I would agree. Greek order and its origins do not reflect values of the Christian church. Greek order was built on polytheistic values, which includes blood lust and war. The only reason Christian churches used these design elements is because this architecture was seen as beautiful during the time. The Church needed to update their design element because Greek order is no longer necessary for good deign, therefore it should be updated because of it original meanings. San Andrea Mantua represents updated design that no longer uses Greek order.

      • Reply
        JhenniferAmundson February 9, 2018

        Humanists remained highly interested in and admiring of Greek culture; thus art like “the School of Athens.” They did not view cultures through a single lens of religious belief but, moreover, also studied the biblical stories that unfold in Greek lands, making Greek culture not all that foreign.

    • Reply
      Jarod Pletcher February 8, 2018

      I also chose San Andrea in Mantua. The barrel vault is a beautiful soaring form in this church and I do find it quite inspiring for personal reflection of the heavens and the glory of God which surround us. In this way this space would be conducive to worship. I do not agree with you, however, that the later Baroque churches get lost in their complexity. I believe that their purpose is clear, that is to reflect the complexity and otherwise indescribable beautify of God through their design. I believe the same about the classical orders. Their purpose in San Lorenzo is not merely to imitate Greek and Roman design, but to describe the beauty of God through the forms in the church since the classical orders were what learned people of the Renaissance understood to be beautiful.

  2. Reply
    Elizabeth Van Bruggen February 1, 2018

    Comparing these four examples, I think the most inspiring space for worship for me would be to go and worship at San Lorenzo in Florence. I think that this space would be very inspiring to me and as it combines those elements of the ancients, which reminds me of the details, with new ideas (of that time), which reminds me of plans and regularity. I specifically love the columns with the authentic Corinthian touch as well as the ceiling that is flat with square coffers with elegant designs within them. I love the height that the arches bring to the space and could see myself sitting there to take in all of God’s many wonders that fill the space. Although the two Baroque examples are beautiful buildings, I think I would be too distracted by the statues and colors and shapes to actually remember the reason for going to that place, to worship. For me, figures portraying the heaven and the earth become very distracting and I focus far too much on them than on God. I’m sure I could walk away inspired to worship, but it would be a different feeling than going to San Lorenzo or even San Andrea.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      I wonder how it is that ‘distraction’ tends to be such a visual thing … are there other senses that might be equally involved?

      • Reply
        Taylor Wills February 9, 2018

        This is an interesting argument for choosing San Lorenzo. I can see how the ornament in Baroque structures can be distracting, and I agree. Often when I look at Baroque design I look at the expensive, luxurious details of the space and get caught up in the prices and worldly goods. It is easy to see the greed and display of power in a space; I think that is why I chose S. Ivo della Sapienza. The church is void of most color, with limited shiny distractions.

        • Reply
          JhenniferAmundson February 9, 2018

          I understand this “distraction” thing in context of taking in these churches for the first time. Repeat visits, and even spending an hour in the building, would probably yield a different impression.

    • Reply
      Riselle Iris Leong February 9, 2018

      I love the simplicity and open space San Lorenzo offers. It may not be as vast and colossal as San Andrea at Mantua, but I appreciate the open yet smaller space this church has. It’s simple yet elegant Corinthian columns and coffers really imitate a throne room for a King indeed. On the other hand, its regularity seems to lack a story to tell of God for the people to really interact with, furthering participation in the worship.

      However, I wonder if an observer from the farther pew would still be able to acknowledge the simplistic open space and how it points our focus to God. Can we create a greater intimacy with God in this space for people in all parts of the room to experience?

  3. Reply
    Andrew Rogers February 1, 2018

    Personally, I believe that San Andrea al Quirinale is the most inspiring place for worship. I feel stronger toward this one because, as stated in the question, it is “dramatic and [holds] emotional energy.” When approaching the building the front elevation is so massive that you get the feeling that you are a part of something bigger than yourself. When you enter and focus toward the altar you notice the natural light coming from a unknown source with joyous musical angels accompanying it. This brings your focus to the painting of St. Andrew which reminds one of the reason for the specific church. As your eyes raise following the ribs of dome the lantern at the top catches your eye with the bright gold and white light. Representing the Holy Spirit, this light shines on the white figures which compliment the larger white statue of St. Andrew breaking through the pediment and ascending to heaven. This is all very dramatic when taking it all in, but I think it is very important to feel the weight and the meaning of all that is around. With all of this being said, I think that this is the most inspiring place for worship.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      for the formal qualities, or narrative of the saint?

      • Reply
        Maxwell Starcevich February 5, 2018

        I agree that the theatricality at San Andrea al Quirinale is well planned, and certainly has a contrived sort of beauty to it. I’m curious to know your opinion on the underlying themes at play in Baroque architecture, especially with the Counter-Reformation in mind. I see the emphasis leaning too much towards saints, rather than God in these Baroque churches. It’s not that the scenes displayed are necessarily untrue, it’s that they focus on humanity and not God. I personally think a space of worship should focus on God, and from there humanity can be truly illumined.

        • Reply
          JhenniferAmundson February 9, 2018

          Well it was a point of the C-R to remind the faithful of how important the saints are to daily life and overall devotional goals. The most faithful would wish to have an experience like St. Teresa’s, which is definitely a focus on God–not God-far-away-and-unknowable, but rather God’s-amazing-glory-piercing-me-with-exquisite-pain. The contemporary Protestant church has certainly moved away from that kind of experience.

  4. Reply
    Taylor Wills February 1, 2018

    The majesty of each of these buildings makes this a difficult choice. I feel the height of their ceilings would be awe-inspiring to look up into, particularly the sort of pumpkin vault of S. Ivo della Sapienza. I feel Borromini’s creation would be the most inspiring space for worship. The plan is comprised of intersecting equilateral triangles, and I love the balance it creates in the church. The height of the vault and the small sculptural details lining it create a bright and heavenly feeling; a feeling I am sure would make an incredible worship experience.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      What do you think about the overall spatial qualities: it is centralized and rather small by comparison with its height

    • Reply
      Andrew Rogers February 5, 2018

      Though I did not write on this one, I do see how the intricate detail on the vault and the surrounding areas makes this a impressive place to worship. You mention the brightness which I personally naturally relate to a heavenly presence. This is a very important key part when looking at a place to worship. I do wonder why Borromini decided to work with a floorplan such as this one.

    • Reply
      Brooke Nickell February 8, 2018

      Even though I chose San Andrea al Quirinale to write, I agree that the intricate detail and brightly lit space would also be amazing to worship in. I was drawn to San Andrea for its beautiful forms and rich color. Yet I think that the color could make space seem much darker without the added illumination of electricity. The white interior of S. Ivo della Sapienza is bright and clean. Light fills the whole space. The color contrast of the dark alter piece and the light interior would help focus the attention of the worshipper.

    • Reply
      Jarod Pletcher February 8, 2018

      I was not drawn to S. Ivo della Sapienza at first, as a space inspiring for worship, but after further study in class, and after seeing more images (especially of the design inspiration) I did find the space much more compelling. The simplicity brought to the design by the lack of color and the clean lines of the vertical orders brings great beauty to the space. I found it particularly interesting to know that Borromini had a fairly restricted budget for this project as well as a limited space since surrounding university was already there framing the site. I believe that given the circumstances, he did create a space very conducive to worship.

    • Reply
      Taylor Wills February 9, 2018

      Bernini’s ultra-intentional work is incredibly satisfying to me, and I love how every component of his design means something. I cannot imagine stepping into San Andrea al Quirinale and seeing Saint Andrew’s upside down crucifixion painting before me. Bernini’s method of blending the frame into the wall with the same stone as the columns beside it installs the painting as a part of the architecture. The holiness in the way the light illuminates the frame would undoubtedly be an inspiring and convicting experience.

  5. Reply
    Monica Medina February 2, 2018

    For me personally, I think that the most inspiring space for worship would be San Andrea al Quirinale just because of the intimate space that there is. This Baroque structure has a short axis thus causing the space to be smaller. Also the windows that this church has allows light to come through, illuminating the space. For me, the light would allow the space to feel more spiritual and worshipful. I also think the majestic pilasters would make the small space feel more empowering along with the painted picture of the future that hangs above the altar. The statue of St Andrews in the Church that is rising through the broken pediment also would allow for a more spiritual encounter for that time period.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      This isn’t about the buildings’ eras, but yours. What about the narrative or light is more important (keeping in mind, they all have natural illumination)

      • Reply
        Monica Medina February 9, 2018

        I think the way the small intimate space causes the way the natural lighting effects the experience. This baroque building is in an oval shape which causes everything in the space to be more close together, unlike a circle plan. I also think the way the dome is exposed with the coffering ceiling along with the columns and paintings make for a more memorable spiritual encounter and would be more inspiring to worship in.

    • Reply
      Jenny Iverson February 7, 2018

      I also chose San Andrea al Quirinale! I find its space to be the most accommodating for worship due to its oval shape and appreciate the natural lighting. It is so interesting to look at images of the interior at different times of the day and see how the lighting impacts the experience. What time of day do you think would be the best to worship within the church? When the light evenly illuminates the space or when there are dramatic shadows cast on the interior? I think it would be quite the experience to stay the day at the church and see how each kind of lighting impacts worship.

      • Reply
        Monica Medina February 9, 2018

        Thats a very interesting point you bring up. I think the different lighting that one can experience thought out the day could definitely impact the spiritual experience one has there. When there is more light illuminating, it can almost feel like the presence of God is there with you in the room. But when there is less light it can almost feel like a space to go and confess your sins or even to have a more intimate moment with the presence of God.

    • Reply
      Brooke Nickell February 8, 2018

      Monica, I agree San Andrea al Quirinale is a beautiful space which would inspire worship. There is something about the small intimate space illuminated in warm light the fills a person up. The church, however, I think would certainly have a different feeling for worshippers now than did then. I am not extremally familiar with historic Catholic tradition, but I surmise that the statues and the painting of St. Andrew would be recognizable (or at least his story would be able to be recognized) from the art in the church. Yet, just as back then St. Andrew was a man who lived long ago and has a story of faith. I think the effective design of the chapel does indeed transcend time inspiring you and me as it inspired worshipers so long ago.

      • Reply
        JhenniferAmundson February 9, 2018

        It is far outside of contemporary Protestant practices to really consider the bodily suffering of the saints. How would it change faithful beliefs if it hadn’t been discouraged through the years, I wonder?

    • Reply
      Anna Wightman February 9, 2018

      I agree that the intimate space created by the plan of the San Andrea al Quirinale would make it fit for worship. I really appreciated how this church used what land was available and turned it into a place of worship, even if it meant straying from the known shape of the circle. This shows that the emphasis was on the church and the experience the congregation would have while worshiping, and not on the exact shape of the plan itself. I think the more intimate space of the oval proved itself to be profitable because it brings everyone closer to the speaker and to each other, creating a deeper sense of fellowship.

  6. Reply
    Jenny Iverson February 2, 2018

    Of the four, I am most drawn to the San Andrea al Quirinale as an inspiring space for worship. San Andrea (Mantua) is a close second, as I find it very beautiful and grand, therefore worthy to honor a God so great. However, it is the shape of the San Andrea al Quirinale that won me over. The San Andrea (Mantua) is great but very long and a bit overwhelming. I find its length would not allow those further in the back of the church to fully experience worshipping God as they are so far from the altar. Thus, I cannot say it is the most inspiring space for worship as I do not see everyone within the church being able to have an equally great experience that those closer to the altar might. On the other hand, the San Andrea al Quirinale, though also very tall and great, is shaped like an oval. I find that to be a superior shape to the long rectangle as it allows those worshipping to enjoy the building, but also be focused and centered in their worship. Overall, I find that the San Andrea al Quirinale accommodates for all within the church to experience the great worship this space can provide, no matter where they might be within the building.
    Furthermore, along with its shape, I find the exterior of San Andrea al Quirinale to be beautiful in its simplicity (compared to the other churches, excluding San Lorenzo). I cannot bring myself to enjoy the exterior of San Andrea (Mantua) as it appears to just have Roman characteristics shoved together. Also, regarding the S. Ivo della Sapienza, I do like the building but do not think I could worship to the best of my ability within a building with such an apparent pumpkin dome, which I find to be grotesque. Back to San Andrea al Quirinale, I truly admire its exterior as I find it best allows one to prepare for worship without being overwhelming. Its simplicity (despite its height) reminds me of the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in how its exterior, though not appearing to be much, housed a beautiful interior, which is representative of the Christian life.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      Interesting to me that your #1 and #2 are so very different. Also surprised to hear SAQ described as “simple,” considering all the color and gilt and sculpture and whatnot.

      • Reply
        JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

        PS Bernini would super agree with you on the Borromini dome

  7. Reply
    Jacob Collins February 2, 2018

    Out if the four churches that were given I think that the church that would provide the most inspiring worship space for me would be the San Andrea in Mantua, Italy. I think that the design of this church lends its self to being a better worship space because of the openness of the church. I think that worshiping in the San Andrea would be inspiring because the material that was used is darker and then the light shines in and you can see the darkness flee.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      What about openness do you find inspiring?

      • Reply
        Jacob Collins February 8, 2018

        The use of very large barrel vaults gives the open feeling and I find this inspiring because when under the dome it would be a unique feeling where you could truly feel Gods presence

  8. Reply
    Abacuc Rodriguez February 2, 2018

    I believe that San Andrea al Quirinale was the most inspiring space for worship. Watching the video on the San Andrea al Quirinale and finding the reason behind Bernini’s ideas was very interesting. The exterior and interior were both executed well and Bernini had a reason for everything. I love the distinction that Bernini made between the heavens and the earth. The ceiling is all white and gold, while the the ground has an earthy feel. The columns, the pilasters, and the frame of Saint Andrew’s picture all use the same material that has an earthy tone. This makes a separation between heaven and earth. Bernini also incorporated a hidden window in his building. This allows for natural light to come in and shine directly on the picture of Saint Andrew. This brings the attention to Saint Andrew and brings the emphasis directly to him. This detail really stood out to me when I watched the video and I thought it was a great utilization of the natural light.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      I’m sure he’d be gratified by your selection!

    • Reply
      Andrew Rogers February 5, 2018

      San Andrea al Quirinale was also my selection. I am curious on why you continued to see Bernini separating heaven and Earth, but did not mention him connecting them in any way. As I interpreted his work, I saw a distinction as you mentioned, but I also saw a connection between the two. It seems as the heavens are opening up to accept St. Andrews in. Because of this I feel that there is a connection between the two portrayed in San Andrea al Quirinale.

  9. Reply
    Chloe Burkhart February 2, 2018

    San Andrea in Mantua would be the most inspirational place for me to worship out of the four options. The huge barrel vault embodies God’s greatness, while the dome lets natural light flow over the congregation to remind them of His creation. I think that the painting and sculpture of St. Andrew in San Andrea al Quirinale is beautiful, but distracting. Although the story of the saint is important, God is more important. I don’t necessarily think that an image of Jesus should be substituted for the saint, but I think it would be more appropriate. In fact, above the altar in San Andrea in Mantua, there is a fresco of St. Andrew being crucified; however, it doesn’t seem as emphasized as in al Quirinale. The other frescoes throughout St. Andrea in Mantua balance out the stress put on St. Andrew. The concentrated light coming from circular windows and the dome create drama within the nave and chapels. The grandness, drama, and detail of the whole space would make for a moving experience for me, especially if being there to worship God.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      It’s an interesting point you bring up, how each church dedicated to St. Andrew treats/emphasizes his story differently, which tells us a lot about the different ideas in the Ren & Baroque periods.

      • Reply
        Diana Romero February 7, 2018

        I agree with your opinion about San Andrea in Mantua being a place that inspires worshipping since its design is very dramatic, as well as the providing the feeling of being very little in the presence of God. Also, I agree with your opinion about San Andrea al Quirinale that maybe should make more emphasis in Jesus instead of the saint. Anyhow, this church is dedicated to this saint in particular, it is common for catholics to have a bit more of emphasis in the saint when the church is his honor.

      • Reply
        Monica Medina February 9, 2018

        Although I chose a different cathedral than you, I also think that San Andrea in Mantua is an inspiring place to worship. Like you said, the huge barrel vault causes an extravagant scene as it has an open space and the circle window in towards the nave of the church causes for a dramatic source of light. I can see what you are saying that the image of Jesus shouldn’t have to be substituted with a saint, but I think it was important for that time in their culture to acknowledge the saints that made a difference in their spiritual life.

    • Reply
      Desmond Wahlfeld February 7, 2018

      I would have never noticed the immense emphasis upon St. Andrew in San Andrea al Quirinale had you not pointed it out. I too find that very peculiar that there seems to such an importance on the St. Andrew that it seems to shadow God. Maybe this difference could be linked to the (Catholic) Church’s movement to bring those who have turned away back. Or could this be more in part because of the location of this church that it could be intended to be less of a church and more of a place of pilgrimage similar to the pilgrimage churches during the Medieval period?

      • Reply
        JhenniferAmundson February 9, 2018

        Art like this is certainly focused on making the suffering of the saint palpable to a worshipper in the space, which would ideally inspire a very particular reaction of dedication and maybe even awe and inspiration at Andrew’s dedication to the faith.

    • Reply
      Elizabeth Van Bruggen February 7, 2018

      San Andrea was definitely my second choice as an inspirational place to worship. I totally agree that San Andrea al Quirinale would be just a bit too distracting to concentrate our worship to the one we are there to worship, God. I think you bring up an interesting point of how the barrel vault embodies God’s greatness as I’d never thought of it that way before. I wonder if they viewed the sculpture at San Andrea al Quirinale as embodying God’s art and power to welcome people into eternal life or if they viewed at as focusing more on solely on St. Andrew?

  10. Reply
    Gabe David February 3, 2018

    The example that I think best provides an inspiring place for worship is San Andrea al Quirinale. Baroque style favors the realistic and dramatic over the idealistic and static. In San Andrea, designed by Bernini, the entirety of the church favors a dramatic and realistic depiction of the life, death, and ascendence of Saint Andrew. The design of the church uses a meld of sculpture, architecture, and paintings to evoke uplifting feelings. Also because the design of the church is so small, the space has become more personalized, and more intimate. This intimacy helps in worship, as it makes a person feel much more connected and concentrated. Curiosity is also present when a person first enters the church and sees the altar. There is a ray of light that emanates from the top of the altar and down onto the little sculptures of angels. The light terminates onto a painting of Saint Andrew, when he was martyred. This fascination with finding the source of the light would make a person want to explore the church further. Upon closer inspection, the light source is emanating from the outside, through a window and down to the altar. The sculptures of the angles are made from gold and bronze, with which the light accentuates their features. They all surround the painting of Saint Andrew, and are sculpted to look content and celebratory at what is taking place. One aspect the design of the church does really well, is the feeling of the familiar, versus the feeling of the unknown. The church is designed almost in levels, the lower level where we would worship, is made from earthy colors. Dark browns, grays, streaky reds are made to appear familiar to us. As the church rises, the color scheme changes, into more precious golds, and bronze colors. Then finally, as a person looks up, the church is colored with pure white, and gold. This is meant to represent the realm of heaven above us. Saint Andrew is used an inspiration for living a life as a Christian, and the rewards that are gained from it. Bernini’s use of color really helps to remind us of what we are striving for in the Christian religion. Serving our time here on earth, leaving this world when the time is right, and finally ascending into heaven. As a person would worship here, they would be conscious of all these things.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      Are those values not communicated at all in the other buildings?

    • Reply
      Adam Wise February 8, 2018

      I chose Sant’ Andrea in Mantua primarily for its scale which, in my opinion, works to magnify glory toward God. However, I do appreciate your point on the intimacy of the church. Having grown up in a small church, I can attest that a certain kind of fellowship exists there that cannot be found in most large-scale churches. That being said, worship among a large group of believers is an incredibly moving experience that, I believe, provides somewhat of a glimpse into the Kingdom of Heaven.

  11. Reply
    Ian Burns February 3, 2018

    Of the four choices given, the one that I think provides the most inspiring space for worship would be Bernini’s San Andrea al Quirinale given its counter-normative size and spatial arrangement. The plan of the church is that of a horizontal oval, which from the entrance opens broadly to the left and right, quite unlike the normal long rectangular nave. However, despite the shape, I believe what’s most inspiring about this space is Bernini’s use of “theatrical lighting” via a hidden skylight over the painting of Saint Andrew (S. Andrea), and the use of yellow-tinted windows in the dome’s lantern to create an always-golden circle of light that spills into the space below, symbolic of the Holy Spirit.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      I don’t know what you mean by “counter-normative” size; it’s a pretty standard small church of the period. The oval is unusual, but how does that impact a worshipful feeling?

    • Reply
      Gabe David February 8, 2018

      I think that the oval shape of the church allows for more intimacy. Instead of everything be placed at equal distances, Bernini considers the altar more important and places it closer to us. I think that Bernini’s intent that during worship it would be wiser to place the most sacred spot as close to the worshippers as possible.

  12. Reply
    David Filipowski February 3, 2018

    In my opinion, from these four examples, San Andrea al Quirinale by Bernini is the most inspiring space for worship. As mentioned in the prompt, the space within San Andrea al Quirinale does seem to have a very dramatic energy. I think that is created by the almost ‘tight’ space. It is an oval in plan and there doesn’t seem to be much ground space, which might add some tension and possibly an obligation of formality for its visitors. The altar of the church is adorned with great columns made out of stone that has not been commonly used in churches. These rich colored columns along with the painting of St. Andrew are illuminated with sunlight, which adds to the intensity of this altar in such a small space. I know that if I were exploring that space, I would be inspired to take a moment to reflect and pay respect.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      Much of your description is common in the other churches, too; is it just the color that is inspiring to you?

  13. Reply
    Aaron Foster February 3, 2018

    San Andrea Mantua is the most beautiful and inspiring building I have seen so far this semester. The expanse and span of the massive barrel vault may not be the most difficult way to vault a space, but it is truly breathtaking just seeing pictures. The acoustics of the room would be incredible. Anyone could sing to the Lord at the top of their lungs and I can just imagine the beautiful echo that would make anyone’s voice sound like an angel. What better way to boast of the Lord than use an arch of triumph as a precedent. The amount of ornament shows the respect given to every square inch of the surface. Not only does Alberti emphasize the vertical through the barrel vault but also through the lantern dome letting in the light coming from the heavens.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      It was a difficult thing to do in the 15th c., that’s for sure! And something about the scale with that vault does make it really impressive–more so than St. Peter’s, in my experience. I hope you get to see it one day!

    • Reply
      Chloe Burkhart February 5, 2018

      I imagined a similar scenario! Something about the large space makes me think of beautiful, harmonizing voices singing traditional hymns. And probably in a different language too; even more exciting! I love how the congregation doesn’t even take up half of the church (or, at least, that’s the impression I’ve gotten from images). This, I feel, is a reminder to the congregation of just how small we are in comparison to God.

    • Reply
      Grant Bradman February 8, 2018

      While I did not see this church as being the most beautiful and inspiring personally, however, the scenario you described does make me look at the church in a new way. Still not enough to make it the best but it does open a new door.

    • Reply
      Jacob Collins February 8, 2018

      I agree that the use of the triumphal arch as a precedent is an interesting way that Alberti may have meant as a tribute to Gods victory over death. The large barrel vaults and the light that comes in would provide a unique experience unlike in any of the other choices.

    • Reply
      JT (Jeffrey) Perek February 8, 2018

      I agree with a lot of what you said. I think you have a good point about the barrel vault. Even though it is not especially complex visually, it is still a wonder to look at. In fact, I think its simplicity, in that regard, adds to ones appreciation of it. It doesn’t distract you, and you are left only with the breathtaking scale of it all. I also enjoyed your point about the acoustics. It is not something I would have thought of right-off-the-bat, but I agree that it must sound superb.

  14. Reply
    Anna Wightman February 3, 2018

    To me, the most inspiring space for worship is the San Andrea al Quirinale by Gianlorenzo Bernini because of the atmosphere that was so creatively designed into the space. Bernini used strategic light, materials, and sculpture to emphasize the presence of Heaven. I think that churches nowadays somehow take away the sanctity of church and liturgy by using simplified language and architecture that is simply practical for acoustics and lighting. While this can be affective, I appreciate the fact that the San Andrea in itself worships the divinity of Heaven. This sets the precedent and provides the space for those coming to worship their God. Not only are the people acknowledging God’s holiness, but so is the building in which they are doing so.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      It is true, most churches do not strive for that kind of formal glory. Is that more the fault of the church, or of recent architecture, do you suppose?

    • Reply
      Chloe Burkhart February 5, 2018

      Although I appreciate how you said, “Not only are the people acknowledging God’s holiness, but so is the building in which they are doing so,” I wonder why, if the church itself is really setting a standard for worship of God, an image or sculpture of Jesus isn’t the most emphasized visual tool in front of the congregation instead of St. Andrew.

    • Reply
      Grant Bradman February 8, 2018

      I really like how you said that the atmosphere was designed. Without the atmosphere being beautifully designed I think it would be hard to worship fully and use the space to its full potential. Also I like how you said that it worship the divinity of Heaven, because that is such a strong aspect of the church that also drew me in.

    • Reply
      Riselle Iris Leong February 8, 2018

      Your perspective on San Andrea al Quirinale is an interesting take on churches today and what this church has successfully accomplished in this work. As the narrative takes place within this space, the space still pays tribute to God Who lifted Andrew up into glory. It was something I did not catch earlier on and am grateful that I see it now.

      In terms of more recent church architecture, I wonder if simplified architecture and modern architectural principles can be used the same way classic elements and ideas were used to cleverly point our attention to God.

  15. Reply
    Desmond Wahlfeld February 3, 2018

    Personally, the church that appeals to me the most is San Andrea in Mantua there’s something about its grandiosity that that is reminiscent of the vastness of God. At home, I attend a mega church and there’s something that always amazes me to see hundreds of others gathered to worship God alongside me.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      Size alone?

      • Reply
        Maxwell Starcevich February 5, 2018

        The question of whether massive structure is automatically good architecture is difficult to say. However, I agree that humans generally perceive structures that are large as being important. I don’t think size is the only factor: A million square foot warehouse might not be considered beautiful. Even so, if one was to stand inside of the most drab structure on earth, it would make an emotional impact if it was sufficiently large. I’ve noticed that when I’m inside of a large open structure, I am not only impacted by the surfaces, but by the vastness of enclosed space. When I look into a blue sky there is no relative object for me to judge its size. When you enclose a tiny portion of that sky, we begin to understand how small we are in relation to the rest of that world.

    • Reply
      Desmond Wahlfeld February 7, 2018

      Didn’t know we were to write a solid two paragraphs to this discussion topic. As to worship, worship can be held in a football stadium or in a closet, all four options satisfy these constraints as that the constraints of building for worship is null, the place of worship could be any location of gathering for the believers. I’ve worshiped in Massive churches, small churches, and even an open baseball stadium. Personally, I’d prefer to be one of many rather than one of twenty where I’d be intimidated to be myself. In reference to the beautiful frescos, amazing vaults, and massive domes, they’re beautiful architecture, however, I find that I admire the art of building when I’m bored of what is being spoken from the pulpit or the stage. Did you know that the lights inside chapel are cylindrical with two opaque glass quarters and two sheet metal quarters containing small greek crosses cut into them with oblong isosceles triangular fins to divide these quarters?

      I chose San Andrea in Mantua, based on the fact it is simply my favorite church on this list. Reason being the awe-inspiring size and the beautiful way these once Roman ideas of structure are composed poetically to show both Christ’s divinity through the temple front, Christ’s rightful rule through a basilica plan, and lastly the icing on the cake, Jesus’ triumph over Satan through the triumphal arch which is depicted as a Roman Triumphal March in Colossians 2:15 “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities [those supernatural forces of evil operating against us], He made a public example of them [exhibiting them as captives in His triumphal procession], having triumphed over them through [a]the cross.” (Amplified translation). That’s the architectural beauty and poetry I see in this building.

  16. Reply
    Brooke Nickell February 3, 2018

    The San Andrea al Quirinale I believe has the interior space that is most inspiring for worship.
    The small intimate interior of San Andrea al Quirinale pulls the worshiper close to the altar with the oval positioned with the path from door to alter cutting along the short side of the oval. The “theatrics” as one of the experts described in the video are elements that Bernini has augmented for the sake of the worshiper. He has played with light causing it to be lucid, and letting it illuminate the altar and the highest point of the dome. The lantern in the dome is turned yellow through stained glass. The light seems as if to come from heaven itself. The tones of the majority of the stone is muted, with soft whites and purples. It contrasts nicely with the white and gold elements. The whole chapel is cast in that warm light. Bernini has also allowed the architectural elements seem to spill like light beams from the lantern at the top of the dome down into the columns and pilasters.
    The space is warm, inviting and intimate, with brilliant techniques to inspire the worship of those taking part in the service as the congregation, but also those who would lead the service. The small lantern that lights the altar seems to be an allusion to the role of the priests that oversee the service. The priests were meant to bring the light of heaven, and the illumination of the Biblical texts to the people. The priests were able to see the source of the light from above, they could see the golden clouds of heaven opening. Bernini has set the opening just so that it would not be seen by the congregation, yet the element was not neglected or simplified. This entire space I believe would be inspiring for all those who worshiped inside its doors.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      Do you think Bernini’s “theatrical” additions to St. Peter’s would make that church equally impactful?

    • Reply
      Desmond Wahlfeld February 7, 2018

      My personal favorite was San Andrea in Mantua, however, I can agree the warm golden lighting inside of this building is extremely pleasant. However, the thing that is most unappealing to me is the choice in marble used in this structure, giving the impression of raw meat or flesh is only slightly unnerving to me, but I am torn because a rich white would counteract the warm feeling the golden light which gives me mixed feelings about this church.

    • Reply
      Aaron Foster February 8, 2018

      I did not pick this as my favorite, but I do respect the decision. Intimacy would be ideal for self reflection and worship, it may be less distracting than a space as massive as San Andrea Mantua. Although, I do see value in the marvel of God’s gifts that He has given to His people, and I see it more so in a massive space than in the smaller space of Quirinale.

  17. Reply
    Grant Bradman February 3, 2018

    Personally I feel as though San Andrea al Quirinale is the most inspiring place for worship. I feel this because of the way Bernini designed everything to mesh and mold together to create an all around cohesive space for worship. The sculptor relates to the paintings and the columns and pilasters and are emphasized by the use of natural light. Also all of these elements all point to the center of the roof where the most gold color is. All bringing your eyes up and allowing you to enjoy the space and God cohesively.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      Is that a matter of the aesthetics or the narrative working on you?

    • Reply
      David Filipowski February 8, 2018

      This is part of the reason I also chose San Andrea al Quirinale. The interior space and ornament is all unified and working as a whole.. I think that this colorful unity might draw people in to want to discover more, encouraging them to prey/meditate/rain dance etc.

  18. Reply
    Adam Wise February 3, 2018

    After weighing the options, I think Sant’ Andrea in Mantua would be my choice. The sheer scale of the building creates a sense of belittlement toward oneself. The massive, spanning barrel vaults, I believe, rather work to magnify God in the context of worship. I also appreciate the coffering applied to the barrel vaults; in contrast to Baroque sculpture, it possesses somewhat of a humble quality, again allowing greater focus on God.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      There is something about that particular barrel vault that has that impression, I agree. It’s somehow more oppressive & inspiring, at the same time, than even the barrel vault at St. Peter’s.

  19. Reply
    JT (Jeffrey) Perek February 3, 2018

    In my opinion, San Andrea al Quirinale provides the most inspiring space for worship. Its intentionality when using light helps to point you upward and bring you into the mindset of worship. Its focus on the heavenly, in the materials and different sculptural and painted pieces, is also a major factor in leading you toward this worshipful mindset.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      How does that compare with the very dramatic light in Mantua?

    • Reply
      Diana Romero February 7, 2018

      As well as the light entering the church in a very dynamic way, I believe the vibrant colors of the interior influence the experience of the people inside. The shape of the church produces a feeling of closeness between the people inside, and the high dome has a total different color, in this way the contrast drags attention up to the dome.

    • Reply
      Jacob Collins February 8, 2018

      I think that Bernini’s use of light as accents to point out what he wants us to get out of the church is fascinating. I think that this would provide a great sense of connection with God and the heavens.

  20. Reply
    Jarod Pletcher February 3, 2018

    I believe that two of these spaces are most inspiring for worship, each in a different facet. I find San Andrea (Mantua) most inspiring for personal worship. I know this seems backward since the space is so gargantuan, but I find the immensity of the space personally humbling. The coffered barrel dome soaring overhead reminds the worshiper of the vast size of heaven, and the splendorous ornament reminds them of the beauty of the invisible God. I would not, however, find such a space inspiring to worship within in a corporate facet. The size is too grand. While that size is humbling and inspires a worshiper to turn their attention toward heaven, it would not be ideal for worshiping in community. San Andrea al Quirinale, on the other hand, is a much more intimate space. It, therefore, provides the worshipper with a space more conducive to corporate worship. The round shape of the room allows the focus of the worshippers to remain on the altar, but peripheral focus can be on the members of the church around them. This smaller, still heavily ornamented and beautiful space would foster better community in its shape. Here we see a reason for innovation, a reason to not simply blindly accept the tradition of the past. The baroque architects like Bernini and Borromini used the rules of classical design, but were not hard set in their ways and were willing to adapt the Renaissance style and the typical church shape of Western Europe, in order to produce better functioning buildings. As architects, we can learn from their choices. We need not cast off all the ways of tradition simply because they were of another era, but we should closely examine tradition to see if there are ways to improve upon it.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      I can’t help but wonder if you would prefer one of the 4 SQ FT chapels at San Carlino even more??!

  21. Reply
    John Ashworth February 4, 2018

    S. Ivo della Sapienza. I think in general, I’m more attracted to the smaller-sized churches as a place of worship, for it seems more humble (from a human perspective) and tends to glorify the people who built it less. A smaller church is more intimate and exclusive, and allows you to really be seperated more from the world, in stead of being all together – more focus on God. Also, for S. Ivo della Sapienza, I find the interplay with the courtyard significant, for it allows visitors to experience the architecture in context of nature’s beauty – the outdoors. Ultimately, God is best found in nature – not in architecture, in my opinion. For he created it, and yes, he created our minds too – but architecture isn’t a direct creation by God. Having the smaller hallways, serperated by a courtyard and topped off with the geometrically complex chapel is very different, and gives visitors the choice of 3 different types of spaces to worship God in.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      Unfortunately, not much of nature exists in front of that church–it’s always been a really, really busy street. How does that setting change your opinion, if it does?

    • Reply
      Abacuc Rodriguez February 7, 2018

      I did not pick S. Ivo della Sapienza, instead I picked San Andrea al Quirinale as the best place of worship. Learning more about Borromini in class and more about this building made me appreciate it more. Although the courtyard is important, I did not find it as significant as you did. I thought Borromini’s use of curves and previous precedents make this church stand out. In class we learned that many people did not like Borromini’s style and it was because he avoided the norm. He was very thoughtful in how he utilized precedents and I found that very interesting in this building. I am curious to see if you feel the same way? Do you see his use of curves make this church stand out from the other churches?

    • Reply
      Jenny Iverson February 7, 2018

      Though I did not choose the S. Ivo della Sapienza because I do not like pumpkin domes (though, from immediately below, it is much more beautiful), I find your point about the courtyard very interesting! I too see God most through nature! I wonder if you think there should be more natural, green elements to the courtyard or if the grass is enough? Furthermore, going off of Dr. Amundson’s question, I wonder how distracting the vehicles passing outside the church would be when worshipping within the courtyard? Or, do these become ambient sounds and perhaps even enhance the experience as it could be more comfortable to do worship without complete silence? To answer this question, I think we would have to visit and experience the S. Ivo della Sapienza for ourselves, but it is an interesting thing to ponder beforehand.

      • Reply
        JhenniferAmundson February 9, 2018

        I heartily recommend the visit! To all of them!!!

  22. Reply
    Riselle Iris Leong February 4, 2018

    Out of four churches, I believe that San Andrea al Quirnale provides the most inspiring space of worship. The Renaissance churches had develop beautiful geometrical works of art that does deliver their point and values; however, San Andrea al Quirinale speaks to the viewer with such an impact that the architectural elements involved emphasizes the story and reason for this church. Bernini takes precendents from the Renaissance, but stretches it to a new level with its use of geometry (the oval space) to make it seem more inviting and different from other normal geometric shapes. The material of its pilasters with its earthy tones moving up to a surreal golden dome lit with the yellow glow of the lantern above. He uses ideas like the oculus and use of windows to manipulate natural light to recreate an ascension to heaven. It’s use of emotional and dynamic factor from taking a different use of classical elements into this design really speaks more clearly to a wider audience who may not be able to see the design elements an artist or architect could usually see. Instead, the viewer better experience the story and wonder this space creates.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      Is it the shape or colors that you find more effective? Or the narrative that’s illustrated there?

      • Reply
        Abacuc Rodriguez February 7, 2018

        I also selected San Andrea al Quirnale as the most inspiring space of worship. You mentioned the manipulation of natural light that Bernini did to recreate the ascension to heaven. I also found this very interesting and his use of the hidden window very innovative. I noticed that the colors do play a role in how the feeling of the building is expressed. The bright gold and white on the ceiling indicate heaven, while the earthy colors on the ground represent the earth. This shows the transition of Saint Andrew from earth to the heavens and light and color help showcase that story.

      • Reply
        Riselle Iris Leong February 8, 2018

        To answer your question, I personally believe that none of the choices are more effective than the other. Rather they depend on each other to tell the narrative vividly beyond the illustrations. The oval shape of the gathers people closer to the painted shrine of the church as the pilasters around you in its earth tones resemble earth that this painting is grounded to and begins to direct your focus from the painting and its surroundings to the golden dome whose temple windows shine a golden light referring to heaven.

        Its use of shape, color, and focused painting lit by a hidden window really puts the narrative together or even better in motion. The colors, textures, vertical lines, and really, singular chapel seems to envelope the observer into the narrative itself, reenacting the ascension of St. Andrew to heaven. These elements cannot fully execute this sensual experience on their own nor better than the other; they build on each other to vividly tell a narrative beyond its painting and sacred space.

    • Reply
      Gabe David February 8, 2018

      San Andrea al Qurinale was my choice as well. Bernini’s use of earthly colors is very appealing, especially with the meaning behind the changing of the colors. I think it is interesting the white and gold were chosen as the purest of colors, to represent the heavens above.

  23. Reply
    Diana Romero February 4, 2018

    The church that inspires a better space for worshipping is S. Ivo della Sapienza. I believe that the way baroque period is represented in this building approaches better to sense of holiness than the rest of the buildings, because of the way it stands tall with a tower pointing upwards to the heaven gives a sense of reaching to God, looking for a closer connection. The interior is very much representing the sanctity of worshipping here. It’s design has forms and molds that are very pleasing to the eye. Its interior produces a feeling of humility since the very tall ceiling let us feel small. It is mostly white and gold in the inside, in addition to the bright light coming inside the building, the sense of purity is very present.

    • Reply
      JhenniferAmundson February 5, 2018

      It also feels very tall for its footprint, which has a special kind of impact on a person.

    • Reply
      Elizabeth Van Bruggen February 7, 2018

      I have to say that the towering effect of the dome at S. Ivo della Sapienza is indeed powerful and interesting, but I personally think that because the space we are worshiping from is so small that I would feel cramped and uncomfortable. But, maybe that is a good thing because like you mentioned it would produce a sense of humility and because it is important to humble ourselves before God when we go to worship him this could indeed be a good thing. In any case it is a unique building that is not overly ornamented so that worship can be focused on God.

    • Reply
      David Filipowski February 8, 2018

      I agree with your comment on the interior color establishing some sort of purity. I guess one could argue that because there isn’t much color, there is less distraction and therefore more focus on God. This sort of combats my post on San Andrea al Quirnale and how the colored marble creates a beautiful and grand space for worship. I am now realizing that the other end of the spectrum can be just as impactful.

    • Reply
      Anna Wightman February 9, 2018

      I agree that the S. Ivo della Sapienza is very humbling. I think that the most powerful buildings make you realize how human you are, and in turn, how amazing God’s creation is. Such a structure makes you very aware of how small you are in size, and also in time. So many people have walked and worshiped in the space before you and the fact that you have a very small impact on the world is apparent. This is a feeling that I would love to replicate. You have to completely submit yourselves to the architecture and it leaves you in awe of God’s creation. As human’s made in the image of God, we have the ability to create things that can make others aware of God’s greatness and that is something I am very excited to do through architecture.

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