Tuesday Photo Challenge: Height

Look Up To Heaven

Nave, Jerónimos Monastery, Belem District, Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon’s Jerónimos Monastery is an important example of the Manueline style in architecture. Unique to Portugal, it is a rich and lavish style developed during the transition from the Late Gothic to Renaissance. Although short-lived (from 1490 to 1520), it was integral in the development of Portuguese art. Manueline art and architecture have a unique vocabulary, with elements of  the sea (coral, shells, barnacles, and seaweed), sailing (spheres, anchors, chains, and ropes), floral and botanical motifs, newly discovered lands (Islamic filigree, East Indian temple art), strands of twisted rope, rounded instead of pointed arches, eight-sided capitals, and the use of  asymmetry. Examples of these elements can be seen in the nave of Jerónimos Monastery, as well as in the details shown below. The nave and the two aisle are of equal height, a possible holdover from the early Gothic Cistercian stlye. The lavish ornamentation, however, is in stark contrast to simplicity of the  Cistercian Monastery of Alcobaça (see earlier post), the first Gothic structure in Portugal.

Sea trade was the basis for Portuguese wealth in the 15th and 16th centuries. The highly nautical Manueline style was influenced by the voyages of discovery of Portuguese navigators, from the coasts of Africa, to the discovery of Brazil,  and to new routes to India and the East. In 1496, King Manuel I (1495–1521), for whom this Portuguese style was named, asked the pope for permission to build a monastery to the Virgin Mary in thanks for Vasco de Gama’s successful voyage to India. Construction on the complex began in 1501 but not completed in 1607. This and other Manueline style buildings were largely financed by proceeds from, as well as a stiff tax on, the spice trade with Africa and the East. A statue of Henry the Navigator stands on a pedestal between the two doors of the church’s main entrance, the south portal. Fortunately, Jerónimos Monastery did not suffer catastrophic damage in the 1755 earthquake, unlike many other Manueline buildings which were destroyed—it stands as one of the outstanding examples to Portuguese artistic innovation.

The stone tombs of Vasco da Gama (1468–1523) and Luís de Camões (1527–1580), the great poet and chronicler of the Age of Discoveries, are in the lower choir. The 19th-century tomb were sculpted in neo-Manueline style and the bodies were reinterred in 1880.

Tomb of Vasco da Gama

Join Frank’s Tuesday Photo Challenge: Height


Discovering Beauty

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

I get great satisfaction from discovering beautiful places, things and people.

WPC: Satisfaction

Discovery Challenge: One, Two, Three

Nixon 1972 Election Memorabilia


Last week I visited the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California. The library recently reopened its galleries after major redesign and renovations. I was impressed, both with the displays and the balanced portrayal of Nixon’s life and career. I was 18 in 1972, and the presidential election was the first time I was able to vote. I am not embarrassed to say I voted for President Nixon. The Vietnam War, Watergate break-ins, missing tapes, and his resignation overshadow many of the positives of the Nixon presidency. Here are just a few of the achievements of his time in office I discovered. President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to manage the environment and signed the Clean Air and the National Environmental Policy acts. He reestablished diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China and during his 1972 visit to Beijing met with Chairman Mao. His summit meetings with Russian leader Leonid I. Brezhnev produced two landmark arms control treaties: SALT I and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Nixon’s administration worked successfully to peacefully end segregation in southern schools. On July 20, 1969, during Nixon’s first term in office, Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon. An estimated 600 million people watched the moon landing.

Discovery Challenge: One, Two, Three

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Wheels

Paddle Wheels Make The World Go Round, At Least Around The River Bend

Paddle wheel on the Discovery II, which traverses the Chena River near Fairbanks, Alaska.

Paddle wheel on the Sternwheeler Riverboat Discovery II, which traverses the Chena River near Fairbanks, Alaska.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Wheels

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