Gothic architecture is aggressive, dark, tall and at times ominous. That wasn’t by accident, especially in the case of religious architecture. Cathedrals, churches and other religious buildings stood not only as places of worship and business, but as a monument to the religion they served. The spires on the tallest towers reach higher to the kingdom of heaven (if you’re into that sort of thing) and dwarf any worshiper who sets foot inside.
Despite the aggressive appearance and nature of these buildings, they were also designed to let in the light. Amidst the dark recesses of apses, vaulted ceilings and cloisters the stained glass windows let in light, illuminating the space. Huge bursts of color break through the otherwise dark and grim spaces to illuminate the building and in theory, the people inside.
Today we visited the Sao Paulo Cathedral, in the heart of Old Sao Paulo. The timing was perfect and as we exited, the sun began to lower, shooting beams through the stained glass windows—brightening the mosaics, reflecting on the floors and offering a bit of optimism to the many that come to pray. I tried my best to capture a few of the dark spots and present the cathedral in a more illuminated way.
I’m really letting my architecture freak flag fly here in Sao Paulo and I’m totally cool with that.