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Catholic: The Latest Architecture and News

AD Classics: Palais des Papes / Pierre Poisson & Jean de Louvres

04:00 - 9 March, 2017
AD Classics: Palais des Papes / Pierre Poisson & Jean de Louvres, An elevation of the palace’s eastern façade by Eugène Viollet Le-Duc. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user Ampon (Public Domain)
An elevation of the palace’s eastern façade by Eugène Viollet Le-Duc. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user Ampon (Public Domain)

While the Roman Catholic Church is synonymous with the Eternal City (and Italian capital), the greatest monument from its medieval heyday actually stands in southern France. The relic of the Papacy’s brief departure from Rome, the Palais des Papes (“Palace of the Popes”) in Avignon is the largest Gothic palace ever built. Constructed in two main phases by two of its residents, the Palais des Papes is a grandiose architectural expression of the wealth and power of the eleven popes who called Avignon their home and base of power.

Photo by Jean-Marc Rosier; courtesy of Wikimedia user Ampon (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0) Bounded by the papal apartments and the two wings of the New Palace, the Cour d’Honneur is substantially larger than the courtyard defined by the cloisters of the Old Palace. ImagePhoto by Jean-Marc Rosier; courtesy of Wikimedia user Ampon (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0) A 15th Century drawing of Avignon by Étienne Matellange; the Palais des Papes dominates the skyline at the top right. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user Aa77zz (Public Domain) A plan of the Palais des Papes drawn in 1921. The Palais Vieux, or Old Palace, is at the left, while the Palais Neuf, or New Palace, is on the right. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user François GOGLINS (Public Domain) + 19

AD Classics: Roman Pantheon / Emperor Hadrian

04:00 - 26 December, 2016
AD Classics: Roman Pantheon / Emperor Hadrian, Courtesy of Flickr user Phil Whitehouse (licensed under CC BY 2.0)
Courtesy of Flickr user Phil Whitehouse (licensed under CC BY 2.0)

Locked within Rome’s labyrinthine maze of narrow streets stands one of the most renowned buildings in the history of architecture. Built at the height of the Roman Empire’s power and wealth, the Roman Pantheon has been both lauded and studied for both the immensity of its dome and its celestial geometry for over two millennia. During this time it has been the subject of countless imitations and references as the enduring architectural legacy of one of the world’s most influential epochs.

The coffers in the Pantheon’s dome, aside from their aesthetic qualities, serve to reduce the weight of the dome on the support structure below. ImageCourtesy of Flickr user Michael Vadon under CC BY 2.0 Courtesy of Flickr user Michael Johnson (licensed under CC BY 2.0) The interior of the Pantheon contains a perfectly spherical volume – a cosmic symbol which triumphantly asserted the authority and might of the Roman Empire. ImageDrawing by Francesco Piraneni. Via Wikimedia user Bkmd under Public Domain Although the original Pantheon built by Marcus Agrippa burned down after his death, Hadrian ordered that its replacement bear an inscription stating that Agrippa had built it as a tribute to his predecessors. ImageCourtesy of Flickr user Michael Johnson under CC BY 2.0 + 16

AD Classics: Royal Basilica of Saint-Denis / Abbot Suger

04:00 - 2 December, 2016
AD Classics: Royal Basilica of Saint-Denis / Abbot Suger, West Façade. Image © Wikimedia user Thomas Clouet (licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0)
West Façade. Image © Wikimedia user Thomas Clouet (licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0)

The origin of Gothic architecture, a style which defined Europe in the later Middle Ages, can be traced to a single abbey church in the northern suburbs of Paris. The Basilique royale de Saint-Denis (Royal Basilica of Saint-Denis), constructed on the site of an abbey and reliquary established in Carolingian (800-888 CE) times, was partially rebuilt under the administration of Abbot Suger in the early 12th Century; these additions—utilizing a variety of structural and stylistic techniques developed in the construction of Romanesque churches in the preceding centuries—would set medieval architecture on a new course that would carry it through the rest of the epoch.

Félix Benoist (Public Domain). ImageEngraving (1861) Rose Window. Image © Wikimedia user Diliff (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0) Tomb. Image © Wikimedia user Myrabella (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0) West Façade Portal Detail. Image © Wikimedia user Myrabella (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0) + 9