Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

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#773462
apelles
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Lets go back to the beginning & have a look at the buildings that are said to have greatly influenced St.Mel’s in the first place. In the conception of his plans for the cathedral, it is said that Bishop O’Higgins was inspired by the Madeleine Church in Paris, the Pantheon in Rome and St. John Lateran’s plus many of the other great basilicas of Rome.
It took 53 years, three bishops O’Higgins, Kilduff & Woodlock & three Architects, John Benjamin Keane, John Bourke, & George C. Ashlin..
Keane from Dublin had already worked on the St. Marys Pro Cathedral, Christ Church, Gorey, Co. Wexford, Church of St. Francis Xavier , Gardiner street upper, Dublin, St Patrick’s Church, Ballyshannon & this is St. Mary’s Church Irishtown, Clonmel Co. Tipperary.

St. Mary’s interestingly was also completed by Bourke with a portico by Ashlin …Its now seams plausible that Ashlin was also responsible for the some of the interior furnishings at St. Mel’s & may have even employed Oppenheimer for mosaic works to the floors.

The Madeleine , Paris.

The Madeleine is built in the Neo-Classical style and was inspired by the Maison Carrée at Nîmes, one of the best-preserved of all Roman temples. Its fifty-two Corinthian columns, each 20 metres high, are carried around the entire building. The pediment sculpture of the Last Judgment is by Lemaire, and the church’s bronze doors bear reliefs representing the Ten Commandments.

Inside, the church has a single nave with three domes over wide arched bays, lavishly gilded in a decor inspired as much by Roman baths as by Renaissance artists. At the rear of the church, above the high altar, stands a statue by Charles Marochetti depicting St Mary Magdalene being carried up to heaven by two angels. The half-dome above the altar is frescoed by Jules-Claude Ziegler, entitled The History of Christianity, showing the key figures in the Christian religion with — a sign of its Second Empire date — Napoleon occupying center stage.

The main influence from the Pantheon here must have been the Portico.

The building was originally approached by a flight of steps. The ground level in the surrounding area has risen considerably since antiquity.

The pediment was decorated with relief sculpture, probably of gilded bronze. Holes marking the location of clamps which held the sculpture suggest that its design was likely an eagle within a wreath; ribbons extended from the wreath into the corners of the pediment.

The Pantheon’s porch was originally designed for monolithic granite columns with shafts 50 Roman feet tall (weighing about 100 tons) and capitals 10 Roman feet tall in the Corinthian order. The taller porch would have hidden the second pediment visible on the intermediate block. Instead, the builders made many awkward adjustments in order to use shafts 40 Roman feet tall and capitals 8 Roman feet tall. The substitution probably resulted from logistical difficulties at some stage in the process: the grey granite columns actually used in the Pantheon’s pronaos were quarried at Mons Claudianus in Egypt’s eastern mountains. Each was 39 feet (12 m) tall, five feet (1.5 m) in diameter, and 60 tons in weight. These were dragged more than 100 km from the quarry to the river on wooden sledges. They were floated by barge down the Nile when the river was high and transferred to vessels to cross the Mediterranean to the Roman port of Ostia where they were transferred back onto barges and up the Tiber to Rome. After being unloaded near the Mausoleum of Augustus, the Pantheon was still about 700 meters away.

In the walls at the back of the portico were niches, probably for statues of Caesar, Augustus and Agrippa, or for the Capitoline Triad, or another set of gods.

The large bronze doors to the cella, once plated with gold, are ancient but not original to the Pantheon. The current doors—too small for the door frame—have been there since at least the 15th century

Basilica of St. John Lateran

An apse lined with mosaics and open to the air still preserves the memory of one of the most famous halls of the ancient palace, the “Triclinium” of Pope Leo III, which was the state banqueting hall. The existing structure (illustration, below left) is not ancient, but it is possible that some portions of the original mosaics have been preserved in the three-part mosaic of its niche: in the centre Christ gives their mission to the Apostles, on the left he gives the keys to St. Sylvester and the Labarum to Constantine, while on the right St. Peter gives the papal stole to Leo III and the standard to Charlemagne.
Apse depicting mosaics from the Triclinium of Pope Leo III in the ancient Lateran Palace.

Some few remains of the original buildings may still be traced in the city walls outside the Gate of St. John, and a large wall decorated with paintings was uncovered in the eighteenth century within the basilica itself, behind the Lancellotti Chapel. A few traces of older buildings also came to light during the excavations made in 1880, when the work of extending the apse was in progress, but nothing was published of real value or importance.

A great many donations from the popes and other benefactors to the basilica are recorded in the Liber Pontificalis, and its splendour at an early period was such that it became known as the “Basilica Aurea”, or Golden Basilica. This splendour drew upon it the attack of the Vandals, who stripped it of all its treasures. Pope Leo I restored it around 460, and it was again restored by Pope Hadrian, but in 897 it was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake— ab altari usque ad portas cecidit “it collapsed from the altar to the doors”— damage so extensive that it was difficult to trace the lines of the old building, but these were in the main respected and the new building was of the same dimensions as the old. This second church lasted for four hundred years and then burned in 1308. It was rebuilt by Pope Clement V and Pope John XXII, only to be burned down once more in 1360, but again rebuilt by Pope Urban V.

Through these various vicissitudes the basilica retained its ancient form, being divided by rows of columns into aisles, and having in front a peristyle surrounded by colonnades with a fountain in the middle, the conventional Late Antique format that was also followed by the old St Peter’s. The façade had three windows, and was embellished with a mosaic representing Christ, the Saviour of the World. The porticoes were frescoed, probably not earlier than the twelfth century, commemorating the Roman fleet under Vespasian, the taking of Jerusalem, the Baptism of the Emperor Constantine and his “Donation” of the Papal States to the Church. Inside the basilica the columns no doubt ran, as in all other basilicas of the same date, the whole length of the church from east to west, but at one of the rebuildings, probably that which was carried out by Clement V, the feature of a transverse nave was introduced, imitated no doubt from the one which had been added, long before this, at Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. Probably at this time the church was enlarged.

Some portions of the older buildings still survive. Among them the pavement of medieval Cosmatesque work, and the statues of St. Peter and Saint Paul, now in the cloisters. The graceful baldacchino over the high altar, which looks so utterly out of place in its present surroundings, dates from 1369. The stercoraria, or throne of red marble on which the popes sat, is now in the Vatican Museums. It owes its unsavory name to the anthem sung at the papal enthronement, “De stercore erigens pauperem” (“lifting up the poor out of the dunghill”, from Psalm 112).

From the fifth century there were seven oratories surrounding the basilica. These before long were incorporated in the church. The devotion of visiting these oratories, which held its ground all through the medieval period, gave rise to the similar devotion of the seven altars, still common in many churches of Rome and elsewhere.
Alessandro Galilei’s façade.

Of the façade by Alessandro Galilei (1735), the cliché assessment has ever been that it is the façade of a palace, not of a church. Galilei’s front, which is a screen across the older front creating a narthex or vestibule, does express the nave and double aisles of the basilica, which required a central bay wider than the rest of the sequence; Galilei provided it, without abandoning the range of identical arch-headed openings, by extending the central window by flanking columns that support the arch, in the familiar Serlian motif. By bringing the central bay forward very slightly, and capping it with a pediment that breaks into the roof balustrade, Galilei provides an entrance doorway on a more-than-colossal scale, framed in the paired colossal Corinthian pilasters that tie together the façade in the manner introduced at Michelangelo’s palace on the Campidoglio.

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