Monday, December 31, 2007

The Annunciation

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Nativity - Stained Glass

The Nativity, originally uploaded by *clairity*.

from the Cathedral of Saint Paul, Minnesota

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Entrance to the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Stained Glass Window from the Nativity Chapel

DSCN1531, originally uploaded by seminarianvoitus.

at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ionic Capitol from the Erectheion on the Acropolis in Athens

_D2X0716, originally uploaded by conceptDawg.

Read more about the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders here.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Parthenon - Doric Columns

The Parthenon, originally uploaded by tsak_d.

The way I learned it (on a Rick Steves' program) - you can remember the chronological order of Doric, Ionic and Corinthian styles according to the number of syllables. The earlier ones are the simplest and the later ones more intricate. I'll try to find examples of the other two over the next few days.

Read more about the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders here.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Obelisk and Ramses II Statue, Luxor, Egypt

Obelisk and Ramses II, originally uploaded by tonayo.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Unfinished Obelisk

Unfinished Obelisk, originally uploaded by 1337Minx.

This is an interesting story we recently heard about on NOVA's Secrets of Lost Empires: Obelisk. It looks like the builders were attempting to make an obelisk about three times the size of any that have ever been found. It didn't work.

You can read more about this obelisk here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Feast of Our Lady of Loretto

Mary's flying house I, originally uploaded by Nick in exsilio.

...the holy house of Nazareth — site of the birth of the Mother of God, of Her early education and of the Annunciation by the Angel Gabriel of the wondrous news of the Incarnation of the Son of God — had been found, transported miraculously, near Tersatz in Dalmatia (Yugoslavia) on May 10th of the year 1291. Between Tersatz and nearby Fiume, the residents of the region beheld one morning an edifice, in a location where never had any been seen before. After the residents of the region talked among themselves of the remarkable little house surmounted by a bell tower, and which stood without foundations on the bare ground, describing its altar, an ancient statue of Our Lady, and other religious objects which their wondering eyes had seen within it, another surprise came to astound them once more.

More information here

Minnesota Mom has a lovely photo of the house along with additional links.

Alice has a fun idea of making a candy cottage to commemorate this feast day.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Obelisk from St. Peter's Square

The obelisk in St. Peter's Square originally stood in Nero's circus (where St. Peter was crucified) and it is inscribed with Latin letters, not hieroglyphics. It was brought to Rome from Egypt by Caligula in 40 AD. It was buried in obscurity for many centuries until Pope Sixtus V had it raised at its present site - requiring the work of 907 men, 75 horses and 40 winches.

(source: Saint Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes Art Services International)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Architecture tidbit from the Pope's New Encyclical

This is fascinating - I've never heard of it before...

In the arrangement of Christian sacred buildings, which were intended to make visible the historic and cosmic breadth of faith in Christ, it became customary to depict the Lord returning as a king - the symbol of hope - at the east end; while the west wall normally portrayed the Last Judgement as a symbol of our responsibility for our lives - a scene which followed and accompanied the faithful as they went out to resume their daily routine. (Pope Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi, 41)

Arch from the Pont du Gard Roman Aqueduct (France)

View through the arch, originally uploaded by Peggy Archer.

According to the caption (click-through for the original) - "The Pont du Gard was built without mortar - the stones are just really well fitted." Wow.

More details here

Other Roman structures to be found in Nimes, France

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Natural Arch-itecture

Arch Rock, originally uploaded by jpwbee.

Arch Rock on Mackinac Island, Michigan

Monday, December 3, 2007

Roman Arch, Circa 80 BC

Caligulas Arch 80 BC, originally uploaded by Tom's Shots.

"Caligula's Arch", Pompeii, Italy

Friday, November 30, 2007

Flying Buttresses of Notre Dame, Paris

Thursday, November 29, 2007

York Minster: Flying Buttresses

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Plimouth Plantation

Plimouth Plantation, originally uploaded by transCam.

Read more here

Friday, November 9, 2007

Blessed Sacrament Chapel at St. John Lateran

St. John Lateran in Rome

Christ and the Lateran saints, originally uploaded by Lawrence OP.

Today is the Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran one of the four major basilicas in Rome.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Harlaxton Manor, Grantham, England

Harlaxton at Sunset, originally uploaded by Scuddr.

The manor now houses a college campus. Read more about it on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thorne Miniatures, English Manor House

My daughter and I visited The Art Institute of Chicago yesterday. One exhibit that turned out to be an unexpected favorite was the Thorne Miniatures collection.

According to the AIC Website:

The 68 Thorne Miniature Rooms enable one to glimpse elements of European interiors from the late 13th century to the 1930s and American furnishings from the 17th century to the 1930s. Painstakingly constructed on a scale of one inch to one foot, these fascinating models were conceived by Mrs. James Ward Thorne of Chicago and constructed between 1932 and 1940 by master craftsmen according to her specifications.

You can view the collections on the AIC website. (Click on "selected works" for a list).

Sunday, October 28, 2007

"Old Bridge" (Carl Theodor Bridge), Heidelberg, Germany

Old Bridge, originally uploaded by Colleen Curnutte.

Read more about the bridge here

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Cattedrale di Monreale

Cattedrale di Monreale, originally uploaded by

Monreale Cathedral, Sicily

This picture was enhanced with a technique called HDR, which makes it look a little unreal, but highlights a lot of the beautiful detail.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Unearthing Herculaneum

Herculaneum, originally uploaded by Rita Willaert.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City, originally uploaded by stevecadman.

Beijing, China

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

House of St. Margaret Clitherow

Keep Clear of this Window, originally uploaded by iwouldstay.

York, England

Read more about her here

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Click here for a history of San Juan Capistrano Mission (San Juan Capistrano, California)

Click here to read about St. John Capistrano, whose feast is today.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mission San Diego de Alcala

Please keep the people of San Diego area and Southern California in general in your prayers as they struggle with terrible wildfires.

Here's a website on Mission San Diego designed especially for kids.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Ruins of St. Paul Cathedral, Macau

Macau - St Paul Church 02, originally uploaded by betta design.

Built between 1582 and 1602, destroyed by fire during a typhoon in 1835.

More details at Wikipedia.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Saint Luke symbol in Stained Glass

st. luke, originally uploaded by Sacred Destinations.

Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mosaics in the Hagia Sophia

depicting St. John Chrysostom and St. Ignatius of Antioch

You can read more about the Hagia Sophia here and here.

Exterior Shot of the Pantheon in Rome

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Convent of St. Teresa in Avila, Spain

This was built in the 1600s, over the site of the house where St. Teresa was born in 1515.

Here's a more recent photo of a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel from inside this same Church.

St. Teresa was named a Doctor of the Church in 1970.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Favorite Architecture-Related DVDs

Building Big with David Macaulay (PBS)

This series includes individual shows on Bridges, Dams, Domes, Skyscrapers and Tunnels. Your kids will learn lots about the science, history and art of large structures. A few small scenes may be frightening or disturbing to younger or more sensitive children.

David Macaulay: Castle, Cathedral, Roman City, Pyramid

This series based on David Macaulay's best-selling books. Wonderful background on how and why these structures were built. Some history problems and mature content. Better for older children, previewing recommended.

Footprints of God Series by Steve Ray (Catholic)

Informative and engaging tours of the Holy Land teach lots of history and theology. My younger kids love Steve's funny and memorable ways of explaining things and there's nothing like hearing these stories told from right where they happened - except, of course, visiting the sites in person. Titles include: Jesus: The Word Became Flesh, Mary: The Mother of God, Peter: Keeper of the Keys and Paul: Contending for the Faith. Some portions may be unsuitable for younger or more sensitive children.

NOVA: Secrets of Lost Empires (PBS)

These are fascinating projects undertaken by teams of experts and enthusiasts to reconstruct full-scale working replicas of historic structures (or parts of structures) to learn more about them and how they were built.

Titles include: Pyramid, Obelisk, Inca (rope bridge and stone wall), Colosseum, Stonehenge and Medieval Siege (trebuchets).

The series was not designed for children, though most of the content is suitable and quite accessible. Parental previewing (and editing) is recommended.

Rick Steves' Best of Europe (numerous titles)

These are fantastic tours of European Cities (with a touch of Turkey, Israel and Egypt thrown in) that cover history, architecture, culture, food and more. Definitely some history *issues* - but these have been great learning opportunities for our family. My older children's jaws dropped when he boldly stated that Jan Huss (a condemned heretic from the Middle Ages) is considered a hero in his country because "he stood up to authority while staying true to himself." Blech. We love these anyway. We watch them with our kids, discuss them and edit out some occasional bits of mature content. Previewing strongly recommended.

Visions of... Series (Titles include: England, Italy, Greece, France, Germany)

These are beautiful and interesting helicopter-view tours of each country, including scenic and architectural highlights and some stories. Mellow, but engaging.

Materials for Studying Bridges

Building Big with David Macaulay: Bridges (DVD)

Bridges of the World Coloring Book (Dover Publications)

London Bridge is Falling Down! Illustrated by Peter Spier

Our Amazing Bridges Architecture Kit (Poof Slinky)

The Brooklyn Bridge by Elizabeth Mann

Bridges by David Miller

Bridge Building Software (build and test your own bridges - free download)

Ken Burns' Brooklyn Bridge (PBS DVD)

House in Fatima, Portugal

Portugal Fatima, originally uploaded by Fr Antunes.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The White House

The White House, originally uploaded by Molas.

On this day in 1901, Theodore Roosevelt gave the White House its current name - it used to be called "the Executive Mansion".

The White House Historical Association has a lot of interesting photos and historical data on their website.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Frauenkirche - Dresden, Germany

Dresden - Frauenkirche Inside II, originally uploaded by chop1n.

This Lutheran Church was leveled during the bombing of Dresden in the last days of World War II. Its reconstruction was completed only in the last few years. More details here

UPDATE: Matthew at the Shrine of the Holy Whapping has just posted on this church with a number of amazing photos.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Obelisk Detail

Obelisk Detail, originally uploaded by Jungle_Boy.

A close-up shot of the Egyptian obelisk outside St. John Lateran in Rome.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Abbey of Saint-Denis, Paris

Paris : Saint Denis, originally uploaded by benidormone.

This site is the burial place of many French monarchs. Saint Denis (whose feast is today) was a bishop of Paris who was martyred around 250 AD.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Tomb of Christopher Columbus, Seville Cathedral

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral

Rosary Cathedral, originally uploaded by artbabee.

in Toledo, Ohio

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Saint Bruno Church Interior, Lyon, France

Nef de St Bruno, originally uploaded by JaHoVil.

Friday, October 5, 2007

St. Francis Church, Sacramento, California

I *think* these are images of three great founders of religious orders: St. Benedict (Benedictines), St. Dominic de Guzman (Dominicans) and St. Ignatius Loyola (Jesuits). Interesting that they are found in the church of St. Francis!

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Basilica of Saint Therese, Lisieux, France

Also see pictures of the house where St. Therese lived in Lisieux (click on "Sanctuary" and then "Theresian places").

Sunday, September 16, 2007

St. Josaphat Basilica, Milwaukee, WI

St. Josaphat Basilica, originally uploaded by Jaedub.

Today our family visited this beautiful basilica, built by Polish immigrants in the early 20th century. It's incredibly beautiful. My children were completely in awe!

The parish website includes an extensive photo gallery - of the including photos of the basilica (inside and out) and some amazing photos taken during construction.

Check it out here

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Google Sketch-up

Google Sketch-up looks like a fun way to play around with 3-D drawings of buildings. My daughter, who has just finished a year of computer techincal drafting, is playing around with it right now. I'll have her report more on it later.

Hat-tip to Melissa Wiley at The Lilting House for the awesome tip (she has a few more details in her post)!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Great Buildings of Ancient Rome

General Links:

The Arch: Glory of the Architecture of Rome

Individual Buildings:

The Colosseum
(70-82 AD)
Rome, Italy

Hadrian’s Villa
(118-133 AD)
Tivoli, Italy

Great site for exploring the extensive ruins - lots of photos!

The Pantheon
(120-124 AD)
Rome, Italy

Porta Nigra
(2nd Century AD)
Trier, Germany

Brief description of how Porta Nigra was constructed
Brief history of structure

Recommended Reading:

Ancient Rome: Monuments Past and Present by R.A. Staccioli
City by David Macaulay
Pompeii: Monuments Past and Present by A. De Franciscis