Monday, 14 February 2011

Storms brewing over Church architecture in Italy

Cardinal Ravasi and "superstar" architect Paolo Portoghesi have laid in to the architectural style of some of the Churches that have recently been built in Italy. Sandro Magister reports today on articles written L'Osservatore Romano: New Churches. The Vatican Flunks the Italian Bishops

Cardinal Ravasi attacked the kind of modern Churches
[...] in which we find ourselves lost as in a conference hall, distracted as in a sports arena, packed in as at a tennis court, degraded as in a pretentious and vulgar house.
Paolo Portoghesi mentioned specifically the three Churches that had won the Italian Bishops' Conference national architectural contest in 2000: those built in Foligno by Massimiliano Fuksas (above), in Catanzaro by Alessandro Pizzolato, and in Modena by Mauro Galantino (below).

e non mi abbandonare mai
Photo credit: Antonio Trogu 

Magister's piece concludes with another article published in L'Osservatore, this time by Fr Timothy Verdon, an art historian from the US. Fr Verdon writes on "Basilica and Circle. The Tradition of the Great Churches of Rome." His analysis is very far from emphasising the idea of the people all being gathered round in a circle; he focusses instead on the well of light at the heart of the building and the centrality of Christ.

It is a relief to hear that there is some opposition to the ludicrously brutalist nonsense that seems to be popping up at great expense all over Italy when it would be possible to build Churches instead.
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