Drawing of the reliquary of the arm of John the Baptist, gilded wood, fifteenth century, from the Cathedral Treasury of Zara in Dalmatia.
Of the Blessed and their Buildings
Of the Blessed and their Buildings was a series of essays written for the platform Substack in the year 2021; a year-long research project about the saints and their effects on architecture and urban form. We might think of the saints as the Influencers of other times. They had the power, in life and even more so in death, to attract crowds to particular places, to generate income, and to affect building form and property values. They, and their body parts aka relics, played important roles in political intrigues. Their identities, much manipulated by others, were central to conflicted questions about material pleasure and spiritual purity, about the promise of a better life in times of stress, and even about gender neutrality.
Their roles as models that could be adjusted endlessly to suit the cultural currents of any given period fascinates me. And along my way, I discovered many themes from their stories in past centuries that concern us today: concerns about climate, free education and access to knowledge, animal protection...the list is large.
To access the Introduction to my blog on Substack, please click on the link below. From the Introduction you can access all the other essays. To see samples of the illustrations, please visit the section just below.