Monday, August 5, 2013

My World Tuesday -- Mankind Needs Art

   There are a lot of little towns here UpNorth, and something I've often thought about is the fact that they can be, well, pretty ugly.  The old buildings are utilitarian and nothing else.  They are boxes, squatting tight to the prairie earth, never more than two stories tall.  They were the blacksmith shop, the grocery, the mercantile, the post office, the drugstore, the feed store, the bank, the newspaper.  They served their purpose well, and there is a kind of attractiveness now in their age and simplicity, but certainly that was not in the builders' intent.
(Wikipedia Image-New Prague)

 But then there are the churches, so often the sole possessor of beautiful architecture, sculpture, paintings, and music in the town. 

In the mid 1800s, a group of Czechoslavakians fled an Iowa cholera epidemic and founded New Prague, Minnesota. This building replaced an outgrown one in 1906.
 They are towering, spired, arched, domed, crenalated, buttressed on the outside. Inside they hold sculpture and paintings and expensive instruments of music, beautiful colors and gold leaf.  They are surrounded by carefully planted trees and old-fashioned flowers, with carved memorials in the cemeteries behind.
Hand carved and gold trimmed altars and pulpits were imported from countries overseas at great expense. . . 

. . . and so were the beautiful stained glass windows.

Lovely details everywhere you look.

   It's kind of like the people boxed up all their need for sensual beauty and built a building around it that befitted its importance and its isolation from the rest of their lives.  And only visited it on Sundays.

   My grandparents were born on homesteads in Minnesota on the Canadian border where the only possibility for many years was filling the most basic needs for food and shelter.  When people came together and built a church, it met needs for social interaction as well as worship.  Now I realize that it also met man's need for art.

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  1. Beautiful church artifacts. There seem to be two schools of thought - one for stark simplicity, the absence of all distractions and the other the love of all things beautiful and elaborate. I like them both in their own way. What I don't like is the utilitarian ugly you see in some places of worship.

  2. Boxed buildings from another era Cynthia ... at least they have wonderful side-walk verandahs which seem to have been forgotten in our society.

  3. I do indeed love seeing churches, they're often very attractive.

  4. Great post. Art is so important and beautiful churches do add aesthetics to towns.

  5. I like the looks of the small town and the church. Yes … what would life be without feast for the body and soul?

  6. Such a meaningful post. Thank you very much.

    ALOHA from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral
    ~ > < } } ( ° > <3

  7. I guess this is why when we travel we like to visit temples, churches and mosques. Man usually puts such talent and inspiration in their houses of worship.

  8. The church is very beautiful! The Good Lord has many beautiful places to live!
    I love the stained glass window!
    You said in your comment that the windmills have gone, but they haven't. I live quite near to them. If you enlarge the second photo you can see one of the twenty mills in the distance. They only don't pump anymore, for there is not always wind and then the polder will be flooded.We live below sealevel so a pump is needed. The mills can work if there is no electricity and enough wind. I have written many times about the mills.

  9. Interesting!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  10. Hello there
    I have to echo Kay's remark about visiting churches and other religious buildings when we travel. Similar in reason but very different in design
    Take care

    Cathy @ Still Waters

  11. The churches are usually the most interesting structure in small towns. Love the stained glass windows.

  12. Ein sehr interessanter Beitrag, danke schön!
    Herzlichen Gruß,

  13. That's a very interesting thought...the church is beautiful. Along the same line, when we visited a beautiful and ornate Indian Mission near Tucson we were told that the religious order put tons of money into the artwork and architecture so that the "poor Indians would have some beauty in their lives." I definitely had mixed feelings about that. (But I was glad we saw it.)