"Torch of the French Huguenot Church: Symbol of Holy Fire"-A Painting of the French Huguenot Church

"Torch of the French Huguenot Church: Symbol of Holy Fire" is an 10"x 8" painting of the French Huguenot Church pictured below.

I used the complementary color contrasts of the red roof with the blue sky and green palmetto tree for artistic effect. The painting is also designed to use the diagonal thrust of the church's red roof to offset the vertical architectural element of the spires and the circular shape of the palmetto tree in the foreground.

"Torch of the French Huguenot Church: Symbol of Holy Fire"
is a small painting, but the use of complementary colors and contrasting design elements in the composition makes a strong artistic statement.

I met a family who had driven 2hrs. to attend Sunday's service in the church because once a year, the service is said completely in French (except for the sermon) and this was the Sunday. The rest of the year Sunday services are in English.

The Huguenots were French speaking Protestants who came to America to escape persecution from the Catholic Church in France during the 16
th and 17th centuries. Their church building is a beautiful example of Gothic architecture with the original cast iron decorations on the roof spires.
I was told by a member of the Huguenot congregation that the cast iron torch (which is original to the building) was used at the apex of the roof instead of a cross because of the symbolic association of a cross with the Catholic church during the colonial era.

The torch is a memorable sight at the top of the church.

"Torch of the French Huguenot Church: Symbol of Holy Fire"
Oil painting on birch panel
Size: 10" x 8"


Mary Runyan said...

Your paintings and subjects are so very appealing to me, especially since they are from my dear Charleston hometown.Your folksy, yet intelligent commentary is very enjoyable. How miraculous that you were painting on the day of the only French service and met some church members.

Divid S. said...

Not bad. Whats next?

Katherine Muschick Schneider said...

I'm working on a larger studio oil painting of the church.

Here's an interesting bit of history about the beautiful pipe organ at the French Huguenot Church.

"It's tone is similar to the Baroque organs for which Bach and Handel composed.
Installed in 1845, it was carved in the style and shape of a Gothic chapel.
It was built by the leading American organ builder of the first half of the 19th century, Henry Erben.

After the fall of Charleston in 1865, federal soldiers dismantled the organ and were loading it on a New York-bound ship when the pleas of the organist, Mr. T. P. O'Neale, and some influential friends saved it." (http://www.frenchhuguenotchurch.org)

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