Posted by Gary R on February 26, 2003 at 07:51:15:
In Reply to: What does church architecture actually do in culture? posted by Rog the Dodge on February 16, 2003 at 17:38:44:
Boy, that's a loaded question. In Medieval Europe, church architecure was designed to strike fear and awe into the hearts and minds of the masses, and to do so by "telling stories" of biblical events. Hence, the use of graphic and sculptural elements (frescoes, paintings, stained glass, gargoyles, etc) that depicted religious subject matter.
In our modern, secular society, church architecure has become much more subtle, restrained, and non-confrontational, by constrast. It is designed to elicit a sense of uplifting spirituality, in most cases (varying, fo course, with the particular religion and sect). The medeival cathedrals were designed as they were because the masses were illiterate. Therefore, graphic depiction was used to convey the message of the church (usually, "beleive in God or burn in hell forever," or something equally as subtle).
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