driving from besançon to metz, in the distance a speck appears in the landscape, it’s just a small white mark on on an an otherwise green hillside.
the musée des beaux arts in besançon is the oldest public museum in france and holds the earliest depiction of the ‘fall of man’ from lucas cranach - an inexhaustible theme in western religious art. adam and eve are depicted on two different panels in sombre evidence of the moment man was tempted to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. their nakedness in which cranach accusingly lights eve and her eaten fruit, is barely covered by a leaf. she casts a guilty downward stare whilst adam looks at her and the snake accusingly, holding the fruit in an open palm and with his right hand suggestively pointing.
the white speck grows larger and flickers between the trees.
the chapelle notre dame du haut de ronchamp is something of a pilgrimage for me, i can’t help wondering what force brings about man’s desire to build these structures. the notions of human pride has occurred to me but does it really mean that it could all be a case of mankind’s vanity taken shape as pyramids, as temples, as churches, as palaces?
are all these monuments built on a benign foundation? st peter’s in the vatican, notre dame de paris, or even others dedicated to sports, the arts or government? are they not all just built to impress a reverence on the occupants or passersby and imbue the creator with prestige or permanence?
however this manifests in our society, the regard we hold for these structures is a reflection of our moral attitude. it is architecture which expresses our inherent condition, since the days of the tower of babel. and that condition may always have been vain.