Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Light of the World

Light has always been important to the Church. It is both practical and symbolic. God said, “Let there be light” and there was light. In the churches of the Gothic period it was very important to communicate the symbol of light and to have light in the churches. Jesus was portrayed as the light of the world. This and other references became important to church leaders.

As the churches grew in size and scope, it would have been harder to light them with just candle light. It also grew more dangerous as these wooden roofed buildings could catch fire easily. As you see, windows became more and more a part of the churches as did the stone roofs. Because of this light, there was added, emphasis placed on light and its role in the church.

We can see elaborate windows in the cathedrals that would have played on this theme. As the churches added the stained glass, this would have been more apparent. When the light plays through the stained-glass windows it produces a feeling unlike any other. These windows would have been a drawing card for the churches themselves. People would have wanted to be a part of the service where this light was.

As you can see in the paintings and statues of this time period, light was an important part of the portrayal of the subjects. Some of the artists of this time and later used light in an extremely interesting way. There would be an emphasis on a particular being or subject to enhance it in the eyes of the viewer. Bright colors would have been used to communicate the message portrayed in these paintings. The statues would have been placed in a particular part of the church to take advantage of the light and it’s natural ability to inspire.

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