© Fabulorum. José Medio

When I was a child, I associated colonnades and porticos with history of art manuals. On those occasions, family or school instructors took me to visit buildings clad in columns. In those outings, I awoke to the presence of those supporting artifacts and my initial awe turned into a vertiginous sense of belonging, as if I had a special right to live among them, either as hero, saint or king. These places were usually churches or civic edifices of majestic size, and columns help the narrative of the building, empowering the purpose of the construction.

With the passing of the years, columns began appearing in my dreams, although not as a match to my childhood reveries. In those situations, they often sprung from the ground like menacing trees blocking my escape from an anguishing maze only to reappear days later as a gate to a mysterious mansion. Their regular presence, devoid of specific messages, magnified the dream wrapping it in operatic scenography.  I began thinking of them as an interchangeable ingredient, nourishing both my wakeful state and my sleep.

In my travels, I lay a loving eye on these elements. Their basic supporting function is rarely on display in contemporary architecture. Unseen steel columns have replaced the theatrical force and intensity of the classical orders. Structure and decorative appeal have parted ways. Either as standing ruins of ancient buildings or as living examples of how architecture can instruct us, they represent strength and balance, support and nobility. Virtues shared in the collective dreams of their makers, faintly echoing in ours.

Photos:

La Malcontenta, Veneto.

Ca d’Oro, Venice

Saint Nicolas des Champs, Paris

Cloître des Bernardins, Paris

Capilla de Santa Lucía, Ceceda, Spain

 

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