St. Marien, High Altar, Detail

Posted by MadScientist (Düsseldorf, Germany) on 24 July 2008 in Art & Design.

Worth visiting: St. Marien, Bonn, a gem from the late 19th century. The nave, the High Altar, today a closeup. I need more data on this church.

grouser from Ludlow, United Kingdom

Nice muted colour scheme. Goes with a rather gloomy aspect of religion.

24 Jul 2008 10:11am

@grouser: Nope, if I would have wanted to show the horror side of religion I would have shown something completely different than this wonderful altar. This is great handcraft, no more and no less.

Tracey from White Hall, United States

Stunning. It is amazing how wonderfully your pictures are helping me understand Pillars of the Earth. I know you are sick of hearing about it, but it is true!

24 Jul 2008 11:45am

@Tracey: Okay, okay, I'll read that book!
Btw, if you have some insights to share, feel free to do so... :-)

Lorraine from Canada

The artistry is phenomenal, loved how you composed it, wow,

24 Jul 2008 11:57am

@Lorraine: My favourite 19th century church up to now. When I was there I was alone, had enough time and light. That was a nice little photo session.

valenttin from Navodari, Romania

love your image. I know how complicate is to obtain a good image in a church. Ours eastern orthodox churches are more darker than yours...

24 Jul 2008 4:26pm

@valenttin: Definitely! This one was my darkest so far. Very important to have a reliable camera at hand. With St. Marien I was very lucky though, as it did not only have a very light interior but the sun was also shining at a lucky angle. Thanks for dropping by!

ManuelaR from Hainburg, Germany

Very well framed and I am admiring the brown tones!

24 Jul 2008 4:27pm

@ManuelaR: A wonderful altar, indeed! Thanks very much!

Ina from Krugersdorp, South Africa

Great shot! The red windows are awesome, overall nice detail and color in this shot.

24 Jul 2008 6:35pm

@Ina: Thanks very much! If light just would always be good like this!

Observing from West Cheshire, United Kingdom

This appears to be a somewhat 'poorer' church.. or maybe just a sober design ?. But, I am no expert on the matter, indeed, the last church I entered all the doors slammed shut and 666 appeared on the wall :((

24 Jul 2008 7:42pm

@Observing: That doesn't sound very good! Church closings here are also quite common, especially protestant churches are hit by this. But slowly a kind of rethinking rises up: when in one of the poorest corners of the Ruhr region a church was to be demolished, opposition from residents, gastronomers and tradesmen emerged, because this church was a landmark and monument of its quarter. I don't know how it ended, but even if many people don't go to church anymore, they recognize their worth, at least the worth of the buildings.
Btw, the church you see is by no means a 'poor' church! The city of Bonn is quite wealthy and so are its parishes. This one here was designed exactly as seen and unchanged since then, all equipment is in a remarkably good condition. I've seldom seen a 'preppy' church like that! :-)

Steven from Chicagoland, United States

Great imagery and detail that you have captured! Is that the tabernacle below the crucifix? Very nice warm red light through the stained glass.

24 Jul 2008 8:52pm

@Steven: Thanks! Tabernacle: I think so, yes. The altar was the only structure in the choir.

JoeB from Brampton, Canada

The detail and variety of this church and the light filtering in makes it very appealing.

25 Jul 2008 1:22am

@JoeB: Thanks Joe! I'm curious how it will look like with the lamps on.

grouser from Ludlow, United Kingdom

Completely agree that it's great craft, but the centrepiece and focus point of the picture is a bloke being crucified. If that isn't gloomy I don't know what is.

25 Jul 2008 10:04am

@grouser: If you only stick to the object you might be true. In early Baroque times the suffering of Christ and the saints was celebrated in a detailed (if not gory) way. You can still see this in undisturbed Baroque churches today, especially the sufferings of St Sebastian were depicted / modeled with all bloody details. However, due to protestant influence there was a change in picture language, shifting from the depiction of suffering to the figure of the Redeemer who has overcome these sufferings. This way Protestantism and Counter-Reformation both changed the perspective on this subject, something to keep in mind when looking at a crucifix, especially if it's painted / modeled after 1700.

Japanalia from Yokohama, Japan

I was hoping that you'd show this altar! I love the icons in their muted, sober colours! And below them, the very small scenes I assume must be carved in wood (?)A real delight to look at it! And the stained glass being so colourfully alive, the effect must be sublime!

25 Jul 2008 3:21pm

@Japanalia: Yes, the altar is all wood. I'm very happy that this beautiful place exists. It's located inmidst an urban residential area with houses built around 1900.

akarui from Kagoshima, Japan

I like this view from nearer, we can appreciate all those pieces of art.

26 Jul 2008 5:33am

@akarui: I like that gold colour very much. In the near future we'll see an Italian church with similar colour combinations.

Twelvebit from Victoria, United States

I really like the altarpiece panels. I also enjoy the Brit take on religion expressed here by grouser and Observing, and wish I heard more of their sentiments on the subject over here. And I have to confess that your reference to the reinterpretation of the crucifix image reminds me of another Brit --Anthony Burgess-- and the "reinterpretation" of religious symbolism by his main character in Clockwork Orange. Anyway, perhaps there was no crucification at all, and Christ was merely experiencing an enhanced interrogation.

30 Jul 2008 11:23pm

@Twelvebit: Who knows what 'really' happened? In the end it's religious tradition, formed by various people during 2000 years, influenced by many other religions, modified by fashion and philosophy and of course by the influence of their leaders, good or evil. Religion is something that lives by its believers. This is in sharp contrast to these Jesus freaks who reduce their 'content' to simple messages à la 'Jesus loves you.' or 'He also died for you.' If it would be that simple I would be no longer a member of my church. Simplification (remember that altar!) leads to arbitrariness.
Btw, the crucification was most probably real, as it was a common punishment for treason in Roman jurisdiction.


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