St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York

Topics: Gothic architecture, Rose window, Stained glass Pages: 3 (721 words) Published: October 27, 2008
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral

I stood facing the gothic cathedral and I couldn’t help but gasp at the distinct facade of Saint Patrick’s. At first glance, one would have an impression of ‘heavy layering, a bunch of shapes and lean, heavy pillars’, majestic, extravagant as well as complicatedly structured. However, at a second look, the facade is actually mainly just composed of triangles and rectangles, erected bold and beautiful in the center of the city.

The facade of the Saint Patrick’s cathedral is breathtaking in a different way than that of the Amiens cathedral. The facade of the Amiens cathedral is full of detail and delicate sculptures, however even though Saint Patrick’s is lacking of that, but it is beautiful simply because it has a powerful sense of direction: up. The shape of the cathedral essentially is a rectangle, so why is the ‘upward reaching’ force so strong? This is the effect of the each and every long and lean body of the pillars sunk deep into the ground, but also delicately piercing into the air above with the pointed pinnacles. No matter the pillars, the arches, the windows, or the doors, every aspect of the facade is neatly pointed; already successfully giving a way the distinct characteristics of this particular gothic cathedral: dramatic, upward reaching and aspiring.

The proportion of the exterior of Saint Patrick’s is asymmetrical; admiring the building from the side (51st Street), the two towers stretched out from one side of the body is most eye-catching, especially when there is none to compare on the opposite end. The proportion is interesting because it felt as if all the weight is weighed on one side and the other is simply a buttress or a backbone, acting only as a support. This is very different from the Parthenon. The Parthenon is a completely symmetrical structure, the number of pillars equal on both sides, even the metopes on the friezes are measure carefully to preserve the symmetry.

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