Thursday, July 9, 2009

Domes, creativity, imagination, inspiration...

One of the coolest things about Italy is the way the architecture fits - as if it's been a part of the topography for ever.... Well, a lot of it has! But it's more than that, it's as if the landscape and the buildings were designed in unison. There's a harmony there that I don't think I've seen before.

The picture here is the Duomo in Florence. The dome crowded by the tower; the nave of the cathedral in the middle, and then the baptistery to the front and left.

There's an interesting story here. The guy who designed the cathedral included the idea of a dome, but nobody was capable of building it. So they went ahead and did everything else, forging ahead on faith that one day someone would figure out how to construct such a thing as a huge dome. Eventually, and over a century after the rest of the cathedral was finished - the dome was added .

In a related story, back in 120 AD, the emperor Hadrian constructed the Pantheon in Rome. The building had a magnificent dome that is still 100% perfect. I'm including a couple of photos here, at right and below. Then, with the fall of Rome and the onset of the Dark Ages, such knowledge was lost for a thousand years! The Pantheon has stood, complete and intact, for 1,900 years. But it wasn't until the Renaissance that people started to use their imaginations once again and they had to start over, learning from scratch.

Later in the Renaissance, when Michelangelo built the basilica at St. Peter's, he deliberately kept the dimensions of his dome a half meter smaller than the Pantheon, out of respect for that amazing engineering achievement.

If we lose our imaginations, our ability to dream, our vision to see things that do not exist yet live on the edge of possibility... then we lose much of what makes us fully alive. God is best defined as Creator, and if we are truly made in the image of God then it is in and through our creativity that we honor the potentiality inherent in our role as God's children.

Love and blessings!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Derek. These pictures and your commentary are awesome! I can't wait to see the rest! Have a wonderful speaking trip - see you when you get back! Much love!! Geoff