Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Barb in Lisbon

I am back in Los Angeles but wanted to share some of my photos from my two weeks in Portugal just before Christmas. I was in Portugal prepping a screenplay that I am writing for Origin Entertainment about the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary that occurred in Fatima, Portugal in 1917. So, I have scads of photos of every inch of Fatima and the visionaries' village of Aljustrel. Those will be coming with commentary. But here are some shots I took during my two day stop in Lisbon.

This, rather ugly, but still impressive monument recalls Portugal's maritime heritage. Starting with Henry the Navigator and culminating in the seafaring explorers who mapped the route to India and then the New World, Portugal's glory days of the past were all wrapped up in her achievement on the seas. The city of Lisbon is full of references to maritime things. This monument stands at the port of Lisbon on the river. It is actually quite huge. You can get a sense of it from the little person standing in the foreground of the monument.

Called the Jeronimos Monastery, this complex was the most impressive thing I saw in Lisbon. It is an example of Manuelite architecture, which if you haven't heard of it is because it is apparently a distinctly Portuguese style. It struck me as kind of massive Gothic meets Baroque. Anyway, huge and amazing, it was apparently originally conceived as a maritime chapel to pray for sailors and in which men preparing to be sailors could come and get holy. They really had a sense of God ordaining the exploration of the world on which Portuguese ships were setting out. The Jeronimos is the must see of any trip to Lisbon. The following are all shots of the "chapel."

As gorgeous as any church to be seen in Europe, the sight that greets you upon entering the Jeronimo's chapel just takes your breath away. Unfortunately, it left my poor little Kodak gasping and sputtering. Use your imagination...

I kept thinking while I was walking around taking in all the splendor, "Now, I'm not saying that the awesomely awful Los Angeles cathedral needed to look quite like this... But why does it have to be that none of it looks anything at all like this?"

Of course, one of the reasons for the endemic aesthetic of ugliness that has become predicable of the Church today is that there is certainly no one left in Christendom who is capable of doing this anymore.

Then, there are the monastery cloisters that abut the chapel...

The cloisters apparently took several decades to complete as every inch of them was devoutly and beautifully carved in stone.

More soon....

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