Saturday, April 9, 2011

Stony Saints, in Copenhagen

Several weeks ago, over spring break I traveled to Copenhagen to look at a study abroad program at the Danish Institute of Foreign Study. A totally charming city; an impressive organization. I have every intention of returning. The Danes enjoyed their Renaissance in the late 16th century, while the rest of Europe was ripping itself apart in the religious wars which characterized that unhappy century. The exuberance of the southern Baroque seems tempered by reforming restraint, producing an admirable architectural equipoise which nonetheless (here and there) erupts into giddiness. More on that some other time.

My colleague Belinda Lee and I spent a few hours walking the city one day, early on stopping in the Cathedral of Copenhagen, a Lutheran outfit. The Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) presents a severe exterior, fronted by a Doric temple facade. The nave of that church is lined on both sides by larger-than-life statues of the apostles. Belinda and I each had brought sketch pads, which we promptly whipped out and put to use while a magnificent pipe organ rehearsal accompanied us. A wonderful interlude.

The only drawing instrument I could find in my bag was a ball-point pen, hardly a favored tool. I adapted.

My sketchbook was a hand-made affair, produced by my former student Molly Brooks, who had very kindly sent me several of them a few months before. I love the size, small, which fits in my jacket pocket easily and lends itself to drawing and making notes onsite.

I scanned a few of the drawings I made that day. Gospel writers and disciples. Thanks, Molly, for the excellent sketchbook!


sunilo said...

These are great. Working with unfavored materials can be a fruitful experience. They almost feel like they were living people you captured in a plaza, as if Jacobus is about stand up and walk away.

I studied with Belinda in St. Louis and Florence. It's nice to hear about old teachers hanging out together.


DB Dowd said...

Sunil, thanks for your note. Great to hear from you! You are so right, that working with unfavored materials has its benefits. Keeps you fresh.

Of course it pains me to think of myself as an old teacher, but alas, it may be true. Belinda, of course, is anything but--perpetually young...

Belinda said...

An amazing day!