Cathedral of Brazil

Metropolitan Cathedral
of Our Lady Aparecida

Hands pointing to the sky

Brazilia, Brazil

Cathedral of Brazil

Exterior View - Cathedral of Brazil
(edited for perspective)
Photograph by Agência Brasil 1

The Cathedral of Brasilia is 40 meters high and holds up to four thousand people. The base of the building is circular and about 60 m in diameter. Its glass ceiling, begins at the floor and is supported by 16 curved columns. Its circular structure prevents the existence of a facade.

Cathedral of Brazil

View of Altar with Angels - Cathedral of Brazil.
Photograph by Ann Parbery 2

Near the entrance there are four statues known as the Four Evangelists. Finally, in their designs, techniques and materials Niemeyer and Costa combined modern curved lines and the free use of Brazilian baroque reminiscences.

Niemayer's communist and political trends had hoped that any future regime would be established in this Brazil. Niemayer's cathedral was designed so that when Brazil was succumbing to communism, the importance of his temple would not be diminished.

Architectural Summary

Architects:

Date:

Style:

Oscar Niemeyer

May 31, 1970

Modern

The Cathedral of Brasília ( "Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady Aparecida" ) is the Roman Catholic cathedral serving Brasília, Brazil, and serves as the seat of the Archdiocese of Brasília. It was designed by Oscar Niemeyer, and was completed and dedicated on May 31, 1970. 1

Cathedral of Brazil

View of Altar with Angels
Cathedral of Brazil.
Photograph by TampaSteve 3

Its nave is over 70 meters in diameter, so long, despite the circular from the Cathedral. Its interior is decorated with stained glass.

Cathedral of Brazil

Courtyard View - Cathedral of Brazil.
Photograph by Christoph Diewald
(all rights reserved) 4

Cathedral of Brazil

Panoramic Interior View - Cathedral of Brazil.
Photograph by Henri Koga 5

The hyperbolic structure is built of concrete, and it seems that with its glass roof it is raised to the open sky. The structure of the Cathedral of Brasilia was completed on 31 May 1970 and was based on revolved hyperbolas, where the sections are asymmetric. The structure itself is the result of 16 identical columns. These columns, which have a hyperbolic section and weigh 90 tonnes, are pointing both hands to the sky. 2

Cathedral of Brazil

Panoramic Interior View - Cathedral of Brazil.
Photograph by Matthew Reeve 6

Brasilia is without any doubt a singular city, different from all others; even those ones considered moderns and planned. For such special city, an equally singular Cathedral was designed and built. On 12th September 1958, the Cathedral's cornerstone was laid. The Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia is an expression of the geniality of the architect Oscar Niemeyer. In 1960, the Cathedral's structure was finished.

Cathedral of Brazil

Statues of Four Evangelists - Exterior View of Cathedral of Brazil.
Photograph by Agência Brasil - Viktor Soares 7

Inside the nave, three sculptures of angels are suspended by steel cables. The sculptures were made by Alfredo Ceschiatti, with the help of Dante Croce, in 1970. 3

Cathedral of Brazil

View of Altar - Cathedral of Brazil
Photograph by Lais Castro Trajano 8

The nave stained glass is made of 16 pieces of fibreglass. These pieces, in colours of blue, white and brown, were fixed between the concrete columns, in triangles. They were painted in 1990 by Marianne Peretti.

The Altar was donated by Pope Paul VI and the image of the Patroness Our Lady of Aparecida is an replica of the original which is at Aparecida do Norte, São Paulo. Di Cavalcanti made the Way of the Cross, which can be seen in one of the marble walls. Just at the entrance of the Cathedral there is a marble pillar with pictures of some passages of the life of Our Lady, the Mother of God, painted by Athos Bulcão.

Cathedral of Brazil

Dome Windows - Cathedral of Brazil
Photograph by Nilson From Brazil - Porto Alegre - RS 9

With nearly 1.000.000 visitors per year, the Cathedral is the most visited place in Brasilia. 4

Cathedral of Brazil

Altar Angels - Cathedral of Brazil.
Photograph by Andrea Belchol 10

Cathedral of Brazil

Exterior View - Cathedral of Brazil.
Photograph by Andrea Belchol 11

Four bronze sculptures, representing the Evangelists, can be seen at the external square in the entrance of the Temple. These sculptures were made with the help of the sculptor Dante Croce, in 1968.

Cathedral of Brazil

Angel - Cathedral of Brazil.
Photograph by William Deegan 12

Cathedral of Brazil

Pieta - Cathedral of Brazil.
Photograph by Henry Hemming 13

Cathedral of Brazil

Crucifix - Cathedral of Brazil.
Photograph by Henry Hemming 14

Inside the crypt, there is a reproduction of the Shroud of Turin. The Shroud of Turin is the piece of pure linen cloth that was used to cover the body of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion and before He was laid in the Holy Sepulchre.

Cathedral of Brazil

Exterior Detail - Cathedral of Brazil.
Photograph by Julian Weyer 15

References

Images

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