Outline ReviewThe physical dimensions alone would be enough to make Churches, Judith Dupre's sumptuous chronology of Christian art and architecture, one of the most absorbing ways possible to learn about the world's most beautiful houses of worship. It is almost too big to fit in your lap, and each brilliantly colored page is almost three times the width of a human head. In addition, Churches offers floor plans, histories, and theological interpretations of almost 60 churches around the world, from the Pantheon in Rome to La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona to the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. Interspersed with these chapters are photographic essays on such topics as "Building a Gothic Cathedral" and "Ancient Paths: Contemporary Labyrinths." All of the images and essays are presented in a format accessible to the general reader. Those more broadly informed about architecture will be drawn to the interview with Swiss-Italian architect Mario Botta--his first in-depth interview published in English. In the end, the book's most amazing accomplishment is to provide readers with sensations that approximate both the grandeur and the intimacy of visiting the churches it depicts. --Michael Joseph Gross
Humble or grand, wood or marble, churches have given physical shape to humanity's highest spiritual and artistic aspirations over the past twenty centuries. These structures not only stand as monuments to God, they also offer revealing testimony to humanity's immense potential and constant effort to understand, express, and honor the Divine.
Churches is a work of art that reflects the grandeur of its subject matter. In this compelling book, Judith Dupr, bestselling author of Skyscrapers and Bridges, presents an architectural tour of fifty-nine of the world's most enduring Christian churches, from such celebrated landmarks as St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois., and Le Corbusier's Chapel at Notre-Dame-du-Haut in Ronchamp, France, to lesser-known masterpieces, including Huialoha Congregational Church on Maui and the Church on the Water in Hokkaido, Japan. Special theme essays cover the earliest Christian churches, the construction of Gothic cathedrals, the evolution of the baptismal font, churches designed by contemporary artists, and the revival of meditative labyrinth walking. With stunning imagery, fascinating essays, and an innovative design, this book is rich with factual detail and beautiful photography presented in an inviting, browsable format. Ms. Dupr offers a nuanced portrait of each structure, blending its architectural history with a deep appreciation for art and a reverence for religious traditions. Encompassing houses of worship from six major Christian denominations and all corners of the earth, Churches is a powerful chronology of faith and achievement that will inspire anyone interested in architecture, art, travel, religion, or photography.
Promise Angels is dedicated to bringing you great books at great prices. Whether you read for entertainment, to learn, or for literacy - you will find what you want at promiseangels.com!
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 16.37" Width: 12.43" Height: 0.9" Weight: 5.3 lbs.
Release Date Oct 31, 2001
ISBN 0060194383 ISBN13 9780060194383 UPC 099455035002
Availability 0 units.
More About Judith Dupre
Judith Dupre is the author of several international bestselling books, including "Skyscrapers," "Bridges, Churches, " and "Monuments." Winner of a number of prestigious fellowships, she holds degrees from Brown University and studied at the Open Atelier of Design and Architecture in Manhattan. Currently, she is at Yale Divinity School studying the impact of memory, beauty, and ethics on architecture and community building. She lives with her family outside New York City.
I rated this a 2 because it's a '4' for style with a 'minus 2' for being intellectually dishonest.
Dishonest - because the author has wrapped her book in examples of traditional form and beauty, but the package inside discloses an iconoclastic agenda for church architecture.
A powerful example of her iconoclasm is evident in her treatment of the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. The church is reknowned for its adornment with mosaics, yet she fails to depict or even make mention of the monumental mosaic of 'Christ in Majesty,' the largest mosaic of Christ in the world. The author's refusal to depict and discuss the architectural focal point of the basilica diminishes her own point of view.
In her narratives about her selections of modern church architecture she is always completely positive in her treatment. In contrast, her narratives about the traditional Catholic churches repeatedly include some type of negative critique of the Catholic Church or Catholic culture. As the author identifies herself as Catholic she positions herself as a sort of 'inspector general' prosecuting her own brethren.
She could never get people to publish or buy a coffee table book on modern church architecture.
So - she appropriates the beauty of the traditional Church forms - and uses that as a platform to praise formless modern churches. Some of those which she presents do have a peculiar beauty - but these typically are cold and uninviting - some are pretentious - even repulsive. The spawn of these modern archetypes are mediocre and ugly, and a typical example is her own parish church depicted at the end of her book.
In sum - the author doesn't seem to appreciate the beauty of enduring church forms - instead - she seems infatuated with the novelty of modern architecture.
Great photos of amazing churches Sep 22, 2007
I am very glad I purchased this book.
There is a wide range of eras and styles covered, and the photos are superb. The architecture and artwork is the focus, but the author never loses sight of the fact that these are places of worship and sanctuary.
I was quite pleased that the book included an unusual Oriental church and a few others that were unconventional.
The only thing that kept it from getting 5 stars was that I wished it had included at least one old-fashioned country chapel/church (stone or wood/timbered) and also that it had included the ancient church at Brixworth (which, if my memory serves, was built in the 700's and is the oldest still-standing church in England)--it's beautiful as well as historic.
The perfect gift for a fan of architecture, history, and travel Nov 9, 2006
I purchased this for my mom a couple of years ago. She loves to travel Europe, is interested in history and religion, and likes art and architecture. This book was the absolute perfect gift (if I do say so myself), and just so happens to be one I grab now and again whenever I visit my parents. Other "coffee table" books have come and gone, but this one constantly bobs back to the top of the proverbial stack.
The photography is wonderful, and the text descriptions are no slouch, either, offering a great historical perspective on each church and its locale. The variety of churches is quite admirable, as well, covering most continents and many denominations (christian and unitarian, just so you know...no mosques or temples here, unfortunately - but that would be a 500 page compendium, not this more specialized look).
For any afficionado of religion, art, or architecture, this book will be pored over and enjoyed quite vigorously. I can't recommend it enough.
Excellent book; excellent pictures Apr 10, 2006
The pictures are great, and the recapitulation of the history that follows the construction of these structures is wonderful. This is no small book. The length is over 16 inches and the width is over 12 inches. Thus, the pictures featured here have greater impact on the reader than other books which display smaller images with details that are barely perceivable. The author must have known this to have made the size of this book an issue before the "print" phase came along.
Great Reference Material Oct 21, 2005
Book has many fine pictures, and an innovative format, highlighting multiple photographers capturing a wide variety of Churches worldwide. Clear, hi-definitition pictures of one church are followed by archived material, giving a full range of historical impressions of these fine churches. Nearly a masterpiece.