Grace Cathedral Essay

1368 words - 5 pages

As I walked up the street toward the front of Grace Cathedral, I was in awe at the size and ornateness of this cathedral. It was tall and wide and looked very much like the churches we had been studying in class in the prior weeks. As I got closer and closer I began to make out The Ghiberti Doors, also known as the gates of paradise. These are the main cathedral doors made out of bronze, and are replicas of the originals which stood centuries ago at the east entrance to the Baptistry of Florence Cathedral (the Duomo) Italy. I approached and spent about fifteen minutes, just examining all the different engraved scenes within the ten sections in the two doors. After I had finished looking at the Ghiberti Doors, I entered through one of the side doors, since you are not able to use the Ghiberti Doors, because they weight too much. Before I stepped inside the cathedral, I pulled out my text analysis and read over it, so that when I entered I could examine whether or not this cathedral exuded the same sacredness as the cathedral in the text analysis. I feel this Cathedral really does exude not entirely the purity of heaven, but does seem to somewhat separate you from the outer world, as Abbot Suger spoke of. Also, it brings in some of the surrounding beauty from St. Denis, such as the sapphire and stained glass, as well as the gold plating. After walking inside and trying to first experience, the church, and all its beauty and ornateness, I began examining the floor plan and elevations of the cathedral. Grace Cathedral was build in a gothic style, which it represents in its architecture inside and out. There were three huge rose windows. One at the very top of the main entrance and one on either end of the transept. There were also numerous smaller rose windows above each ornate stain glass window segment on both of the side aisle. This cathedral had many of the same architectural characteristic as those from the medieval period that we studied in class. The cathedral has a nave with two side aisles, one on either side of the nave, and tall ornate piers separating the nave from the side aisles, very similar to Leon Cathedral in Leon, France from C. 1190. Also the ceilings within the cathedral are vaulted and elaborately decorated, giving the same appearance of those cathedrals built in the gothic time period in France. One architectural difference with the cathedral, from those found in the middle ages, is that Grace Cathedral is made out of concrete rather than stone. The reason for this is because it not only is cheaper to use but also is more structurally sound for San Francisco, being a place with a high risk of earthquakes. Also, I do not believe that this church made use of flying buttresses, though they did use normal buttresses on the eight outer corners of the church. This Cathedral really did an excellent job on bringing the gothic style into this church and making it believable; it was very well done.

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