Sunday, May 2, 2010
Gargoyles are cool
Finally, a Cathedral that wasn't Renaissance. I've ingested enough Renaissance that I could spit the stuff up for the next thousand years. Diluting all that classical mumbo-jumbo with a little bit of Medieval is a welcome relief, always. Any Florentine would agree. As I came up on this Cathedral during my second day in Prague, I was totally flabberghasted. It wasn't made of marble. There weren't any frescos. And to my great pleasure, there wasn't as single cherub flying around. Those little buggers wouldn't have the balls to fly around this Cathedral. They'd be eaten by Gargoyles.
I love sculpture. My absolute favorite place in the world is a Sculpture garden in New Jersey called Grounds For Sculpture. I practically worship the place. The sculptures are all contemporary and interesting and fun to interact with. When I got to Florence I was pretty gung-ho about seeing all the sculpture in the city. After my 24th David and an extreme marble overload, I gave up on caring about Renaissance sculpture. Admittedly, I still love David and I will forever praise the works of Donatello and old Uncle Mike, but I just can't take any more perfection, seriously. I needed something strange and new to re-ignite my love for sculpture. I found that in Prague when I came across my first real live Gargoyles. Halleluja.
Can you really tell me that these aren't the coolest things you've ever seen? I was really interested in them and decided to listen in on one of the English speaking tour-guides as she explained their significance. Gargoyles are alot cooler than I thought. The people who invented Gargoyles made them as protectors of churches and castles. Apparently, they thought that the uglier they were, the better representative of the Devil they were. And, as legend has it, the only thing the Devil is afraid of is himself. So, the more creepy Gargoyles that adorned the facades of these buildings meant the better chance the Devil would come across his own reflection before barging in. Makes me wonder why they didn't just make the place out of mirrors, but whatever. Gargoyles are officially my favorite.
I was delighted when I realized that to go inside the Cathedral I wouldn't have to pay a cent. I was totally amazed by the interior. The first thing I noticed was the stained glass. I have a small obsession with stained glass. I am a firm believer that half the reason I survived church when I was little was because I could busy myself with looking at all the different colors in the images rather than sneak underneath the pews to tie peoples shoes together. Which, when the stained glass got boring, I did. I still love to look at all the colors. I was immediately struck by the massiveness of the stained glass in this Cathedral. I've never in my life seen such intricate and gigantic windows in my life. The color schemes in them were inspiring, too. Instead of being as representational of life as they could, these colors were innovative (for the time). There was one window I will never forget made of all purple, red, and blue pieces. It was spectacular. I went from window to window and was barely able to contain myself. Caah kept having to shush me and look around for me because I was wandering from one amazing thing to the next. There were frescos, but they weren't Renaissance. There was gold everywhere. The sculptures were all totally nuts, there was even a wooden one! There was a tomb there of some saint or another so oranately decorated, with silver and gold and angels literally suspended from the ceiling, that Caah and I stood and gaped for a good twenty minutes.
As I came to the end of my Cathedral circuit, I noticed something and groaned inside. It was a Madonna and Child. Until this point I'd been totally free of Renaissance art and I wasn't about to let the Madonna and her stupid baby remain in that marvelous Cathedral uninsulted. I went up to the painting and was about to curse it off for ruining this outstanding place when I noticed something. Yeah, it was a Madonna. But she wasn't holding a child. I almost screamed with pleasure. I actually hopped a little bit and started cracking up hysterically. PRAGUE HAS CONQUERED THE RENAISSANCE, FRIENDS! Madonna was holding a house. I kind of resent all the parodies of David that are out there, but this parody I thoroughly enjoyed:
I've never enjoyed artwork so much. I couldn't stop talking about that Madonna and House for the rest of the day. Caah actually had to tell me to shut up at one point.
When I went back to Florence, flooded once again with Renaissance, getting through it was much easier. In the back of my mind there was always the Madonna and House.
Well, Arrivederci, for now.