Friday, April 15, 2011
More windows -- They seem to be a theme around here!
I'm NOT a military history buff, I have to say. While I'm fascinated by what traces the past leaves. I prefer my forays back in time to be guided by art or music or, especially, the sacred spaces in which people have meditated and prayed for centuries past. As long as the crowds aren't too thick (although even then -- as at Paris's Notre Dame, one can usually find a quiet corner in the vast space), we sometimes like to duck into a centuries-old church and savour the redolent hush that slows one's heartbeat back down to a deep calm.
Generally, these older churches, especially the cathedrals, are dark. Pierced with magically coloured light, yes, but still, their vastness is generally quite sombre. Not so with our new favourite, St. Maximin of Metz. This church's architecture, size, and setting have been brilliantly complemented by the light-to-medium tones of stained glass windows conceieved by Jean Cocteau and executed by Ateliers Brière.
And finally, here are the Cocteau windows. Is there anything this man didn't try his hand at? His Wikipedia entry adds boxing manager to the careers I already knew of (playwright, poet, and film maker)
Beyond the colours, of course, there's a freedom and fluidity of line, a wonderfully dynamic tension between angles and curves. I'm reminded of a quotation from the Mondrian/de Stihl exposition we saw a few weeks ago at the Pompidou Centre (in Paris; there's another Pompidou Centre in Metz, on which more later!):
Le Vitrail par nature sur la cloisonnement de la forme, la combinaison de couleurs élémentaires et l'interaction entre lumière et spatialité, cést pourquoi il constitue un moyen d'expression privilégié d'intégration de l'art à l'architecture. OR, if you'll forgive a loose translation: by its nature in partitioning form, combining elementary colours and allowing an interaction between light and space, Stained Glass constitutes a privileged form of expression integrating art and architecture.