Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oct 15, Part 19 - The Church of St. Sulpice

From the row of bikes, we walked down the street three short blocks that seemed like one and jogged left into the unexpected. I'd read the name of St. Sulpice for years, and probably thought I was going to see a smaller church in a Gothic format. This thing was huge. It was imposing in a way that literally quickened my breathing and got my adrenaline going, although it's hard to see from the photo why it would be so. But it was. The church was also under the wraps of reconstruction. I don't know if that made it feel more or less intrusive, but I'm sure it added to a sense of mystery. I only found out later that St. Sulpice has gained fame as a landmark in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. I didn't remember that at the time; you can read about it here. To me, the edifice was simply huge, Baroque, and breathtaking.

We arrived at that special time of evening when the sky and the artificial light balance each other and created interesting mood-altering colors. Apparently this is the fountain of the four bishops. Makes sense, it's a church.

As I snapped this one on the run. It's way, way, way out of focus, but Lee and I both liked the perched birds. I was thinking "philosopher" rather than a man of holy orders. Anyway, I loved the birds and the memory of being here enough to include this out-of-focus photo.

One of the prominent features of the Baroque is theatricality, and our timing was right for the lighting to help promote that.

Look at the gorgeous marble in the columns. Click the photo to enlarge it if you need to.

Inside the gargantuan church, the little light that was available took over the scenario. It felt more like a darkened theatre than a church.

This is one of the paintings on the ceiling. The shape and the moulding have all the Baroque flash and flare you could want.

One of St. Sulpice's claims to fame is this huge panel by Delacroix in one of the chapels near the front doors.

Here are the four bishops again. I don't think we spent a lot of time inside; the light faded quickly.

I really loved the surrealness of the quiet square, the lighting, the huge church half shrouded in canvas, and the patterns created by the monster-sized scaffolding and switchback stairs. It was like a bizarre unadvertised art exhibit. The lights were on, the doors were open, but nobody was in attendance. Except for us.

I think you get some idea of the imposing size from here. I love the lighting.

It takes two photos from this close to get the top and the bottom of the massive structure. So that was St. Sulpice. Nice side trip. We headed back to the Rue de Rennes.

No comments: