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  • Writer's pictureVivienne Boucherat


In November I went to see a sound and light show (son et lumière) at Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire, UK. The projections lit and shaped the whole place, inside and out. It was a great spectacle and celebration.

The theme was Renaissance Art. From the outside, the ever-changing projections illuminated and ‘described’ the ornate architecture. Inside the Cathedral itself, the bright images and patterns moved across vaulted ceilings and intricate masonry and tumbled down pillars and stained-glass windows giving the impression of being inside a big, beautiful kaleidoscope. The already intricate and awesome interior was transformed. It was really quite stunning.

The projections offered a nuanced colour palette rather than an accurate presentation of Renaissance paintings. Having said that, it was wonderful to see details of Michelangelo’s ‘Creation of Adam’ and representations of the Golden Section projected down the whole length of the nave affording us a clear view on the western wall.

The result was that, though I am a big fan of Renaissance art, I was far more taken with the way that the Cathedral itself felt like the star. It was truly a celebration of light, towering gothic architecture and human achievement.

We experienced the event with a large community of inspired spectators who were ‘taken out of themselves’ for a few moments in this wonderful space. Truly awesome.

(Michelangelo’s ‘Creation of Adam’ projected onto the internal West wall)

I have seen other art exhibitions inside this Cathedral. Personally, I think it makes it beautifully inclusive of those of us, who, though we may not hold specific religious beliefs, have a spiritual awareness and an appreciation of beauty, creativity, nature and human endeavour.

The last exhibition I saw here was Grayson Perry’s ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’ – six huge and fantastic tapestries charting the journey of an individual through the British class system. Though they depict our secular lives, they include both variations on biblical scenes and religious iconography. The Cathedral setting certainly creates a very thought-provoking context for viewing and thinking anew about art.

(External walls of the Cathedral)

I wish you all a special inspiring season where you find moments, big and small, to celebrate.

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