St. Maria in Lyskirchen, Ceiling

Posted by MadScientist (Düsseldorf, Germany) on 22 January 2009 in Art & Design and Portfolio.

As by a wonder the ceiling of St. Maria in Lyskirchen was spared by the ravages of war. So we are still able to admire these frescoes from the 13th century: each part confronts scenes from the Old Testament with such from the New Testament, a meeting of type (OT) and antitype (NT).

What is missing in this picture cycle is the depiction of the crucifixion, we may assume it in another section of the ceiling (the square of the centre nave); the presumed depiction of the Tree of Jesse would have been located in the square of the choir nave.

Margie from Auckland, New Zealand

Awesome shot, MS, I love the perspective and symmetry - and the warm tones, beautiful.
Did you lie down on the floor for this one?!

22 Jan 2009 9:44am

@Margie: Hahaha, no, I don't! My camera lies on the floor and I'm using a remote release. It's that simple! :-D

Michael Skorulski from Cigel, Slovakia

Gorgeous, MS. I like the sensation of lying on the floor while viewing. However I know you use a remote release.

22 Jan 2009 11:03am

@Michael Skorulski: I would get bedsore if I'd be permanently lying in churches... ;-)

Bonj from Jefferson City, United States

In trying to take in all of the detail, I can picture myself standing below looking up and almost getting dizzy. Great shot. They probably need the lighting, but I think the modern lamps and spot lights(?) detract just a bit from the artistry of the place.

22 Jan 2009 12:55pm

@Bonj: You are right, but sometimes lamps in churches are a great help. The church here was almost pitch-black, I didn't expect such a satisfying result.

Tracey from White Hall, United States

Wow! The 13th century! That is simply amazing! What is even more amazing is the way you've captured the ceiling!

22 Jan 2009 12:56pm

@Tracey: The first paintings were started in 1250 (two years after they started to build Cologne Cathedral a kilometer away), it's really amazing how well they are preserved. I wished the light had been better!

MaryB from Staffordshire, United Kingdom

Awesome, thank goodness they survived, it's wonderful to think that this is so very old. A real labour of love.

22 Jan 2009 2:20pm

@MaryB: So very different from Baroque ceilings, aren't they?

Shirin Moosavi from Tehran, Iran

Wow! Awesome! Absolutely an architectural masterpiece and a superb capture!

22 Jan 2009 2:23pm

@Shirin Moosavi: Many thanks, Shirin! You wouldn't expect this treasure from the outside, it's a quite modest building.

Observing from West Cheshire, United Kingdom

Both the ceiling and the painting are masterpieces, one can but wonder how they ever managed to work at that height. Excellent wide shot.

22 Jan 2009 3:45pm

@Observing: This church is not that big, maybe 20 meters high or less, that could have been easily done with scaffolds.

Eleftheria from Athens, Greece


22 Jan 2009 4:19pm

@Eleftheria: I will return to there in summer, hope light will be much better then!

Ana Lúcia from Leiria, Portugal

At the risk of repeating myself (again!)...fantastic.

22 Jan 2009 4:30pm

@Ana Lúcia: Hehe... thanks very much, Ana Lúcia!

JoeB from Brampton, Canada

Great showing of the ceiling, plus the orange is not something I would expect. I see your back to your regular shooting position.

22 Jan 2009 8:11pm

@JoeB: You know, it took me years to perfect this technique.

PD from Overland Park, Kansas, United States

A beautiful ceiling and great job of capturing it. Do they allow flash in places like this?

22 Jan 2009 10:46pm

@PD: Usually not, it wouldn't make sense, as you would need a very big flash to light the room. Light conditions are usually awful (as it was here), so you have no choice but to use a tripod or something similar. However, in some churches, especially the big ones (Cologne Cathedral for example), you are not allowed to use a tripod. You would need a license, available at the Dompropstei (the same applies for using a video camera). In smaller churches, where you are usually alone during visiting hours, nobody cares much.

akarui from Kagoshima, Japan

Fantastic point of view. Great picture and colors.

23 Jan 2009 2:14am

@akarui: Thanks, actually this image type is very easily done. :)

Margie from Auckland, New Zealand

Ah, of course...doh. I've got to get myself one of those remotes!

23 Jan 2009 6:22pm

@Margie: Highly recommended for long exposures!

Twelvebit from Victoria, United States

No doubt the painting was accomplished with scaffolds, but it would still have been a major pain-in-the-ass. It meant either behind your head back continuously, or laying on your back with paint dripping into your face.

26 Jan 2009 11:47pm

@Twelvebit: Not to forget that they had to paint at candlelight...

Laurent from Lyon, France

beautiful view and really nice painting.
I was wondering, have you ever thought of making panorama of the ceiling? That would enable you to have more in one picture and the format is quiet perfect for a church ceiling (for instance this one I made with 4 pictures, even if you could thought of many other composition).
The technique is quiet simple today thanks software that helps you a lot

27 Jan 2009 9:57pm

@Laurent: I really tried, but my software told me that it was unable to paste my two pictures together because of the 'wrong' focal length (10mm). Bummer! I'll keep trying! :-)


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