Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Weight of the World

The inner city of Vienna has so many wonderful architectural details to look at that it is all sometimes quite overwhelming. Today we went on a hunt for the so called 'atlante', or 'telemon'(from the Greek verb to endure or bear). These colossal statues, usually males, are seen all over the place holding up portals and balconies. The word comes from the Greek name Atlas, the god who was condemned to support the sky on his shoulders forever.
Here are two examples:



Now here is a corner of a huge building which I thought looked like something from the Stalinist period, with huge eagles guarding all the sides of the building.


Sometimes I wonder about the atmosphere of the times when it was normal and ordinary to add so much detail and embellishment to buildings. Designers and architects once cared enough to add sculptures and gargoyles etc. Nowadays we value minimalism and we seem to like simplicity in our surroundings, but have we perhaps gone to far? Maybe it's time to think about adding back the details which give charm and beauty to our homes and offices.

2 comments:

Expat Traveler said...

Kim - looks like you've done some much in Vienna! I love the architecture. I'd love to be traveling again but I guess it will happen some day..

Ginnie said...

Interesting question, Kim. I definitely love the European architecture and wonder if it IS because of all the embellishment. So much time and effort and thought put into the designs...in a different way than today. Having said that, however, I am often mind-boggled when we drive to downtown Atlanta and see the modernistic styles that defy imagination--not in embellishment but in building design. Hmm. I'll have to think about this some more....