Monday, May 17, 2010

Lawrence's ceiling

As it has been suggested here, Saint Lawrence, Cleveland is modest in size but uniquely impressive. The architectural and sacred presentation is atypical and lovely. One of these unique features is the ceiling. There is a painted wood panelled ceiling throughout: in the narthex, nave, sanctuary, and Marian chapel. It is dark wood, perhaps cypress, [mahogany, which is a generic term for rain forest], and within it, and suspended from it, are vents, electrical lamps, and fans. The panels are dark and the only sufficiently lighted panels are in the narthex, which are sun lit through the transept windows over the portico doors. They are decorated with floral, and geometric lace, interspersed with iconic portraits, and symbols of the faith. Wordless, scriptless, so one's accumulated identifying knowledge is taxed. And with common cameras, and the artificial lighting in use, and the insufficient sunlight in the main, it is not easy to capture good snapshots. But it is solidly handsome and memorable.
It would be a travesty to alter, or dismember, the ceilings. And again, the sum value is greater than the constituent parts. Saint Lawrence, the church building can only be a church, and should only be a church. If there is poetic justice, in the next world, in the fashion of Dante, and the forgers of greek pagan mythology, whom once sang and depicted verse, then every brick, pane and panel of Saint Lawrence's would be hauled on the malefactor's back, as the just burden of his sin of unwarranted possession, and ultimate dismemberment. Lawrence had humor at his end. Remember, the martyred roman deacon was grilled, and said to his executioners to turn him over, for he was done on the one side.
Supra (above) ceilings: top, a center section above the nave
Teresa of Avila, narthex panel (color tweaked, since sunlight has faded it)
Peter, over the baldachino over the high altar
panels of the Marija Brezje shrine, with angels flanking a panel of Sv. Marija Pomogaj [Mary, Help of Christians], which is above a large painting, whose supporting window covers a St. Mary window

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