11/10/12

"A very good test"

"ARCHITECTURE is a very good test of the true strength of a society, for the most valuable things in a human state are the irrevocable things—marriage, for instance. And architecture approaches nearer than any other art to being irrevocable, because it is so difficult to get rid of. You can turn a picture with its face to the wall; it would be a nuisance to turn that Roman cathedral with its face to the wall. You can tear a poem to pieces; it is only in moments of very sincere emotion that you tear a town-hall to pieces. A building is akin to dogma; it is insolent, like a dogma. Whether or no it is permanent, it claims permanence like a dogma. People ask why we have no typical architecture of the modern world, like impressionism in painting. Surely it is obviously because we have not enough dogmas; we cannot bear to see anything in the sky that is solid and enduring, anything in the sky that does not change like the clouds of the sky."

~G.K. Chesterton: Tremendous Trifles.

Photo: Inside Christianity's first cathedral -- the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Vatican, located in Rome, Lazio, Italy. Choir and apse. The mosaics in the dome are a 19th Century rebuilding of Jacopo Torriti's works dating back to the 13th Century.

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