Yesterday I visited a small rural town in Franconia. It is the residence of a bishop, has a unique old town-center and, of course, a large church in its middle, a cathedral. I was told to look for the architecture of the “Altstadt” and it is a marvel: Undestroyed, well kept (you look at situations that were formed in the 18th century), and has a beautiful geographical situation in a fine and (hopefully) undisturbed river-valley. Catholic to the bone. I stood in front of the Dom’s northern side-entrance and admired the mason-works: Saints to the left, worldly figures to the right, still in their original color, it is at least recognizable. It is an 18th and 19th century myth, that medieval art and architecture would be gray or monochrome, and the classics plain white: It was colorful, quietschbunt!
I stepped in and the first thing I saw was a monument for a bishop. This Dom is smaller as the one in Wuerzburg, which is famous for its bishop-monuments: Every single “shepherd” has at least a picture in his cathedral, mostly at the pilars that organize the large space and form the ships of the room: In more than thousand years a lot of bishops come together.
In this church they tried to get it right. Four or five of them. And it went totally wrong. In the end it is a large country-church, of course with marmor and good imported stone-work and all: It was not meant to be a large Dom, a cathedral. It is just the wrong stage. The Dom zu Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg cathedral, was meant to be what it is: A very large, throughout baroque stage for the representation of the catholic church and its shepherds here, a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk, amazingly put together over generations and centuries. In Eichstaett they tried and did not reach the goal: A “Kaltblut” is no “Araber” …
The most touching room for devotion I encountered was in a monastery in the Tauber-valley. The monastery was/is a pretty large collection of buildings, founded as Cisterce, later taken over by Augustines, today Franciscans may be there, I am not sure. A thundering baroque church, gothic building of course with breathtaking space and rich painting, masonry, glass-works, especial the “Chorgestühl” is an impressive work of art. I saw the grounds more than 20 years ago used as brewery and hay was stored in the church. Now it is renovated, restored to its lavish baroque grandeur.
When you go around the church, de-climb a staircase to the basement and follow the sign to the “Andachtsraum” you finally enter a kind of semi-subterranean room with columns, broken stone-plates on the floor, a simple altar and collected chairs; someone put flowers in glasses; an old carpet to the altar; it is quiet there, some window-glasses are colorful; no “chains” around the altar …
I do not campaign for the catholic church here, or the protestant, or any other christian denomination. I want to speak about the directness of a feeling, a belief, maybe a truth.
And stages. Acting, directing, putting on a play, finding and fulfilling a role, expecting and anticipating expectations and stereotypes, braking them, extemporizing and method acting: The job is to divide the real from the unreal, to find oneself under the rubble of outside expectations, images, projections.
There is the simple need to establish a stable basis, simply stop turning around, running, considerating other people’s needs .. time to play one own, to be self. And to act out than.
To be present, besides all the wobbling.
And kick my arse for being patronizing, I deserve it.