Recently, while in Chicago, Rob Powers and I drove around looking for all of the churches that I’ve always seen from the interstates and wondered what they were like. One in particular, right down in one of the oldest parts of the city is this church, which I suspect is a Jesuit church since their motto is emblazoned on the front. The aspect of this church that struck me most is that it is in a Baroque Revival Style, which is a revival of the style of architecture I studied in grad school. Typified by often ornate, and extremely dramatic decorations, the Baroque Style was perfected by one of my favorite sculptors and architects, Gian Lorenzo Bernini. You can see an example of his architecture and sculpture at my other, largely inactive blog on Roman Patina.
As I was photographing this church, I realized something; Chicago has all sorts of churches inspired by Baroque architecture, but for the life of me, I can’t think of a major church anywhere in St. Louis that is.
Conversely, while the Italy and Germany have plenty of Baroque churches, perhaps Chicago’s large Polish population influenced the construction of Baroque Revival churches, as the country is well-represented in that style. Or perhaps, it simply came down to the taste of the particular archbishops who ruled over the two cities. Personality of patrons has influenced art history throughout the last several thousands millennia, so that may simple be the case here.