Monday, November 29, 2010

St. Pietro

It was about four o'clock on my first day in Rome.  I had desired to spend that afternoon at the Basilica Di San Pietro.  This being one of my favorite places in books, it always seemed very mysterious and fascinating.  I heard Patrick speak about this place several times; he did as always in his magical way of teaching, transporting me there.   But this time was the real thing.  I was going to go into the heart of some of the most wonderful artist and architects of history, all in one place.  As I walked around the Vatican wall, my heart felt like it was going to come right out of my chest, I sure could have used a Doctor by my side!  As I came around the corner I was faced with a beautiful arched entry that was truly between a rock and a hard place!  As I walked through the stone arch, I was immediately faced with the most enormous, most beautiful colonnade I have ever seen in my life! I realized I was standing in the Heart of Bernini one of my favorite architects of all times!  As I walked through into the Piazza heading for the center fountain, I took one like around, and my eyes just continued 360 degrees, an unbreakable circle of pure details.  I could not help but to cry once more before such perfection.  The perfectly lined, single standing statures above the massive columns and with the impressive chandeliers peaking through the stone, was unbelievable.  The wet pebble stone Piazza reflected the structure in such a magical way.  The Wu-wu right in the middle of the piazza brought a smile to my face, and made me think of Patrick!  The Basilica Facade realized by Carlo Maderno in 1614 was truly impressive, its dimension, and scale, titanic! Painted by the hand of symmetry, detailed by the hands of master craftsman, was truly a work of art.  The coffered ceilings that can be viewed from the outside, the classical columns that adorn the entry ways, and the niches, the statues, and the chandeliers all work in perfect harmony and relation to each other.  Oh, and its most famous gigantic copula perfectly designed by Michael Angelo just the icing on the cake.  Simply magnificent! As I entered the basilica the scale was monumental!  The height of the ceilings was impressive, but only big enough to accommodate the immense statuary that foretells a story of the Roman Empire.  This was a site of incredible amounts of money, exuberantly spent with no hold backs by the Roman Catholic Church.  The gold columns, the marble everything! The stories told over and over again by the statuary, understood in any language, were simply unreal.


As I came into Rome, the view of the old city was amazing!  While talking to the taxi driver, I glanced to the left, and saw what appeared to be old ruins of some sort, I was almost certain that they were from the aqueducts!  I asked the driver, and to my surprise, I was right!  It was like a sight from heaven, my heart was jumping out of my chest, and my tears just came down like the rain outside the cab.  As we ventured on deeper into the city of Rome, on our way to the Vatican City, the view of the most awesome monuments began to emerge from the old tall buildings.  First an arch that marks the entrance of Rome, and then the most beautiful white tall and grand Basilica I had ever seen, St. Geovanies.  I was speechless again, and for all of you that know me, that is pretty hard to do!  As we continued, the coliseum unveiled right before my eyes, like a quiet giant.  I believe my heart stopped for a moment.  I could not take in so much beauty and history at one time.  Such incredible monuments of perfect architecture that had withstood the hardship of time, "that in my opinion is our worst enemy" yet they still stand strong.  To some people these monuments are simply another old building, but to me, they are a testament of man's greatness.  It is a testament of man’s ingenuity, and trials that have been overcome by great decisions.  This is what makes us different from animals, the ability of being able to rise above the horizon, to leave a mark so strong that it affects not only our children but our children’s children, and thousands of generations down.  Our lives are stories, some well told, some untold, some in the process of being told, our architecture is the evidence that we were alive!


In Brussels the Ionic order ruled throughout the most impressive antique buildings.  Yet, on the newer buildings the Corinthian column was the column of choice.  For example, The Baux Art Museum, although a very classic architecture, modern metallic structures contrast the air space, breaking the detail and powering classic details.  The central Basilica of Brussels was impressive in detail.  A massive amount of statuary; the niches adorned by millions of statues perfectly lined.  I was most impressed by the dance of lights and shadows that created a movement throughout the statues and niches.  The scale of the church was impressive, and the multitude of dormers on the roof seemed to be the evidence of the need of natural light inside the attic space.  My highest moment was when we arrived to the Hotel Solvay by Victor Horta.  It is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen.  The flow of the building was like flowing water from a rock.  The surrounding buildings are very classic and subdued.  It felt, to me, like a child laughing among a perfectly lined army.  Pictures cannot tell this story; I could almost see the playful, yet masterful heart of the artist, in this master piece.  I was amazed at the perfect curves of the facade, balconies above the tall windows, the detailed railings that created a dance of curves and flowing lines, and the amazing front door with details galore.  I could not help but to peak in the front door, just to reveal an even more impressive inside.  Simply wonderful!  "I will forever take with me, the first impression, and the feeling of seeing something so beautiful, that stands from the street, but is not loud, soft and strong and ever so beautiful. "