Western temples of the third millennium

March 2012 Acrylic on canvas 100 x 73cm (39.4in x 28.7 in)

From the moment this building was finished last year I wanted to make it the subject of a painting.  I see it from the train every day on my way to work in Donostia/San Sebastian. The architect is Rafael Moneo.

Templos occidentales del tercer milenio

Desde el momento en el año pasado en que se termino este edificio  queria hacerlo el tema de un cuadro.  Lo veo cada dia desde el tren cuando voy a trabajar en Donostia. El arquitecto es Rafael Moneo.

Temples occidentaux du troisième millénium

Depuis le moment où cet édifice a été construit j’ai voulu qu’il devienne le thème d’un tableau. Je le vois du train tous les jours quand je vais travailler à San Sébastien. L’architecte est Rafael Moneo.


18 thoughts on “Western temples of the third millennium

  1. Well I can see how this was an irrisistable subject – I love the church it self, but what an incredible juxtaposition! There’s part of me which almost doesn’t believe it, lol. I love how you’ve painted it too – clean and pared down. I think this is definitely a postmodern painting…

  2. Hi Sarah – nice to hear from you again. I almost didn’t believe it either – especially as I’d been watching the construction over a few years. Right from the start it stood out to me as a very captivating piece of architecture. The red supemarket sign ( which in reality spells the name of a local supermarket chain) seems to have been the finishing touch! The blood of Christ perhaps?!

  3. Hi Sonya. Very thought provoking. I love the trees who are swaying and singing. And I love the shadow of the tree on the lawn. I had to enlarge to see the bells and they are beautiful in their tower. They are so gentle, they redeem the starkness of the rest of the building. Jane

  4. Think this is fascinating – and a great title. I thought of your painting driving yesterday and looking down on Plymouth in South West England, with its modernist buildings against a flawless moorland backdrop, a city rebuilt in the 50s after the war. They both look like idealised shiny new visions of the future you could almost believe in from a distance. Could look at this for ages – so many conflicting things going on, it’s almost bittersweet and melancholy, all those Utopian associations and the flipside of them.

    • I always find it a great compliment when someone else’s thoughts are applied in another situation having been triggered by actually remembering one of my paintings while going about their daily life. It’s the idea that once you let out a piece of work into the world it’s there for everyone to respond to & somehow carry it on further & make it alive – a sort of meme I suppose.
      Yes, there are conflicting things going on in the painting & probably quite a few ways to intereprete them; I don’t want to say too much though, because if it works I think it shouldn’t really need my words! But yours, yes – thank-you.

  5. Hi Keith – thanks for the link it was interesting. It got me reflecting again on what influences one’s art.
    I find myself more & more thinking that certain styles that I relate to are the result of a specifically British current approach in painting. Meaning that I don’t see this occuring in French or Spanish painting in the same way for example.
    Mj Forster’s mention of how he appreciates Rowland Hilder got me
    thinking just how many of us British who looked at those ladybird nature books as children, must share a common influence! Among many other influences as well of course. It fascinates me how history becomes a part of us that we carry within us & it shapes the way we see the world wherever we are.

  6. Wow! Such a stark contrast within the painting as well as with your other paintings, Sonya! You stay true to your style, but the subject change from natural to manmade has imprinted this image for me. Very good!

    • Hi Leslie, nice to hear from you. Yes I suppose it must seem a contrast in a way from some of my other paintings. On the other hand, from an aesthetic point of view I see the building much as you might appreciate a beautiful perfectly formed white pebble for example. Perhaps a rather expensive pebble though! Which was why the part of the building was sold off to the supermarket in order to pay for it! You could say it’s a sign of the times! (Rafael Moneo also designed the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles but perhaps LA didn’t need to sell itself, or at least not so overtly!)

    • Of course that’s OK – I’m always happy that a painting can be linked with &/or provoke ideas. It’s part of the dialogue that you want to come about whenever you let something out into the world.

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