Monday, March 10, 2008

The Old and the New

Many people think that contemporary and traditional art and architecture cannot be successfully mixed. They think that a church, for example, has to be either completely contemporary (e.g. the Matisse Chapel), or completely traditional (e.g. St. Clement's). But that is really not the case. There are many prominent examples of churches that mix both styles, such as the National Cathedral, and Metz Cathedral (Metz, France). In both of these, very modern looking stained glass looks right at home in the midst of the soaring Gothic arches and beautiful carved wood. I had the great privilege of seeing the Marc Chagall windows in Metz firsthand several years back while working in Europe. They fit in with the rest of the building and its art beautifully. Therefore, before writing off the use of contemporary visual artistic forms in church, take a look around you, and see if there are not already modernistic elements in use that you are quite comfortable with and used to, and that look great in the building they are in.

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