I have studied the Pantheon in Art History, but experiencing it in real space was an unexpected thrill. Although 'space' is a visual element (we have been talking about it since 2D and 3D design classes freshman year), I have never before been made so intensely aware of it as a viewer than when I first walked into the Pantheon. The space inside this place seems, from the outside, to be so contained. When you walk into the building, however, the space seems expansive, even cosmic! I felt as if my own lungs were expanding as widely as the coffered ceiling as I stepped into its vastness. Everything felt as it if was wide open, even though the only real opening was the oculus in the center of the ceiling.
Tonight I will brainstorm and sketch other ways to communicate this profound sense of space. This may inform my installation project for the studio class!
Although seeing Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel was a huge check off of my "bucket list", I found his Pieta in St. Peter's Basilica to be so much more compelling. I found it interesting how this marble form is so heavy and stable, yet at the same time so delicate and ethereal. The juxtaposition of the visual weight of Mary's body with the lightness and youth of her face and the frailty of Christ's figure made it's emotional impact even greater.
Often, religious art seems so "over the top", exaggerated, and idealized. This piece feels very human. It makes my heart break.
The downwardly sloping folds of fabric add to the sense of visual weight and movement. The same lines are echoed in Christ's arm, torso, and Mary's chin and facial features. Everything seems to be falling downwards, as tears would fall down one's cheeks.