Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Morningside Gothic






This sculpture, known as the Peace Fountain by Greg Wyatt, is the centerpiece of the Children's Sculpture Garden at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the largest unfinished cathedral in the world, a grand and soaring structure I pass by daily. From this angle, the brass-cast sculpture depicts the archangel Michael slaying the fallen angel Satan, symbolizing the triumph of faith over evil. I've always found this particular sculpture to be the stuff of nightmares, yet there it stands in the children's garden, a dark and Gothic undertaking, a metaphor for life really. We are all children in this endeavor, making our way in the shadow of everything that scares us, trembling as we resolutely face forward, learning to feel the fear and do it anyway, as they used to say in the rooms.


15 comments:

  1. Oh Angella. Bless. Here we are.

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  2. It's gorgeous. I'm actually going to Ghouls'night on thursday at St John's. Have never been. I'm very excited. I hope you're good.

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  3. Oh my. I am in awe that you pass by this often. It is stunning, and frightening. The church looks like the stuff of dreams. I will have to go into the city to look at some art soon, or a piece of me will atrophy. Thank you for sharing this perspective. Those toes. In the children's garden. Oh my.

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  4. Holy crap! I have often said that your photography is amazing but the words you paired with this photograph are equally amazing.

    Thank you.

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  5. I thought the same thing about that sculpture. My favorite part of the cathedral is inside, the poet's corner. I went to one of the dedications once, years ago -- it was divine.

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  6. Ms. Moon, here we are, both of us still standing. Hugs.

    Miss A, you'll be in my hood! I unfortunately, will still be a work, trying to ship pages. have fun!

    Mel, the church is a beauty. I want to take my camera there and just make pictures one day soon. The lines, the sculptures, the light, all marvelous. But this sculpture in the children's garden is definitely not sweetness and light, more like Grimm fairy tale!

    Omgrrrl, that photo is by kate hansely, see her credit in the labels. it is stunning, isn't it? I ran across it and could not turn away. thanks for the kind words about the writing.

    Elizabeth, the poet's corner! yes. It makes sense that it would speak to you. I love knowing we have walked over the same ground at some point.

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  7. I was just talking to a 4 year old last night who knew what Zombies are. He was playing a game on an iphone where you could eat brains. And then he went back to playing an ABC game. I wonder if children know what to fear and what not to fear? And what in our modern age has made us want to shelter them so much when so long ago children were reading Grimm? No right or wrong answer, I suppose, just strange.

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  8. Thanks for sharing this photo. I'm very partial to St. Michael, and this is one of the best images I've come across.

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  9. Rachel, i think this statue unsettles me far more than it does the children who play in its shadow. it reminds me of something i once heard, how at a particular school they removed all the fairytales because they were really so violent and grim (pun intended) with giants eating boys who climbed up beanstalks and wolves breaking in on girls in red riding hoods and whatnot, and a strange thing happened, the children began getting nightmares and were very out of sorts in class, and they called in a psychologist who said bring back the fairytales, that the children needed those horror stories, that it made them feel the horror was "out there" and it was being handled, it didn't have the live inside them anymore. all that to say, you're on to something. nice to see you!

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  10. That does look scary. Nothing Gothic around here. Too many farms.
    m.

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  11. Awesome photo and post. Exactly as your other admirers said. One day I hope to see your New York. xoxo

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  12. Didn't they finally finish the cathedral, or am I making that up? I remember they had a big fire a couple of years ago. I also remember seeing that statue. It IS incredible and scary!

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  13. Mark, those farms make me think of the painting American Gothic.

    Deirdre, i imagine you moving through Penn Station sometimes, on the way to see your family. Maybe I'll run into you there one day.

    Steve, I remember the fire. They did a lot of repair, but the Cathedral is still officially unfinished. I also think it is the largest unfinished cathedral in the world, but not the largest cathedral. so maybe they will never finish it so they can keep their largest-something cred!

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  14. It is interesting, isn't it? I think it goes along the same lines as banning books for those exact reasons - people do it because they are afraid of how it will impact children, but eventually children get into the real world and bad things happen. I wonder if fairy tales are like practicing for battle. Knowing what you're up against someday may better prepare you. who knows.

    (I think my brain is still on the river - not sure if it's coming back)
    xo

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