Throughout history vaulted ceilings were used to ornament cathedrals and basilicas and make a space look larger than it is.
In architecture, the main function of vaults was to give resistance to walls and ceilings. There’s a wide variety of vaults such as the Barrel Vault, Groin Vault, Rib Vault and Fan vault. This variety took ceilings to another dimension and more than art covering four walls with a roof.
Therefore, Mozaico thought of taking you on a journey of renowned to less known monuments, spreading through three continents and two thousand years of history. We start with the contemporary art of magical stained glass ceilings made by Daniel Buren to conclude with the fairy land of India, the Taj Mahal.
The Grand Hall of Mudam, Luxembourg
Daniel Buren is a French conceptual artist who became well recognized for contrasting colors with striped patterns to combine visual surfaces and architectural spaces. He unveiled his artworks at the exhibition in the Grand Hall of Mudam shifting an entire architectural fragment into the hall.
Monumenta, Grand Palais in Paris
The Grand Palais was originally built in the 1900s for world fair. Through his mosaic like kaleidoscopic installations, Daniel Buren was the fifth artist taking part in the annual Paris Monumenta project. His color choices were determined by the wavelengths of light, the sky of Paris, the scudding clouds and angled sunlight as it complements the building. Contemplating Buren’s artworks makes you realize that he in fact has no limitations or restrictions to his art.
Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, Singapore
Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple is one of the oldest temples located in Singapore, on Serangoon Road. The tall Gopuram and mosaics ceiling illustrate the several incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Gopuram is recognized as a prominent character in Hindu Temples of the Dravidian architecture, temples primarily designed as a pyramids or shaped towers and constructed from sandstone, soapstone or granite.
Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold, West Virginia
The Prabhypada’s Palace of Gold is hidden in West Virginia’s hills, one of the United States’ most dazzling treasures. In every inch of square space, there are different colors and designs. Shades of red appear against shades of purple, to complement the blue and green. The stained glass windows mirror colors with the reflections of the ceiling. More than 1500 tiles of hand-shaped stained glass and hand-picked natural stones were used to create the majestic peacock windows poising the palace’s murals.
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
After his pensive creation at the Anne Cobb Gottwald reflecting a pool in front of a coffee shop, Dale Chihuly was chosen to create the remarkable ceiling (Red Reeds) of The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. He since became an internationally renowned artist with Red Reeds on loan to VMFA. This remarkable stained glass ceiling was an instant success as the first outdoor installation by Chihuly acquired by an art museum.
Sistine Chapel, Rome
The Sistine Chapel is a lot more than just the most popular tourist destination in Vatican’s City, it’s a wonder that has fascinated the world. Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling for it to be a masterpiece without precedent. He used bright and pastel colors, easily noticeable looking up. On the wall behind the altar, he painted the ancestors of the Christ to alternate between male and female prophets with Jonah. Nine stories from the Book of Genesis were illustrated on the celestial ceiling, including the creation and downfall of Adam and Eve, and three stories from the life of Noah. Although he was commissioned to only paint 12 figures, the ceiling and murals featured over 300 figures by the time the Chapel was completed.
“Without having seen the Sistine Chapel, we can’t appreciate the idea of what one man is capable of achieving.’’
King’s College Chapel, Cambridge
King’s College Chapel is the Chapel of the University of Cambridge. It was considered as one of the finest examples of late Perpendicular Gothic architecture. It is recognized for its tremendously magnetic fan vault ceiling. A fan vault is a form of vault used regularly in the Gothic and Neon Gothic styles. All the ribs of the same curve are spaced in such a way to resemble a fan.
Cathedral of Saint Bavo, Haarlem
This Cathedra is the main attraction for the city of Haarlem in Holland conquering the city skyline for centuries. The inner chapels suffered greatly during the Beeldenstorm and many stained-glass windows have been ruined. It used to be an important center for stained glass art in the 16th century, however little evidence of it still exists today. The interior of the Cathedral has been painted many times by local artists and most markedly by Pieter Jansz Saenredam. It is unique for its fire toned wooden ceiling contrasting with the white walls and chandeliers.
Ely Cathedral, England
The Ely Cathedral in England is a bravura medieval cathedral with many unique characteristics. Most of it was accomplished by 1189 in the Romanesque style, while few additions were made in the 13th and 14th centuries. Octagons are found in many other churches although none rival with the beauty of the Ely Cathedral. They represent the celestial host and the eighth day , a time beyond our earthly time measured in only seven days. The octagon ceiling is a symbol linking earth and heaven, and time with eternity, therefore a unique and magnificent work of architecture.
Taj Mahal, India
I can admit that I saved the best for last! This historic mausoleum has been admired over the years as a symbol of sacrifice and love. Tourists and visitors come from all the corners of the world to witness this unique flourishing design. Over the years, the Taj Mahal was known as an epitome for the Mughal Architecture through merging Persian, Indian and Turkish architectures in one unique and divine style. The main attraction of the structure is the tomb characterized by white marble tiles on a square platform. The vaulted ceilings and walls illustrate sacred geometrical designs that are usually found in other sandstone buildings. The calligraphy ornamenting the tomb makes it more interesting, with the names of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan coming to mind.
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