Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Miracle in León's Cathedral

I don't know if the miracle was designed by man, or by God.  I also don't know if it occurs daily at a certain hour, or if it is a truly rare event. I'm not even sure if it is well-known, or something I discovered by accident through my photography.  I am sure, however, that it is amazing.

It was not mentioned in the pre-recorded audio handset tour of  León's Cathedral, and I can find no source for it on the Internet.  My Mother-in-Law, a native of León, was also not familiar with it.

I'm sure that no one noticed it while on the Cathedral tour, including me, or there would have been "ooohs" and "ahhhs."  It was not until today, when I reviewed the photographs I had taken two days previously that it literally came to light. But there it was on the very last frame I shot while in the interior of the Cathedral.

This is not the photo in question, but it will help you understand what you are seeing later on.  I shot this photograph of the main alter earlier in the self-guided tour. In the Cathedral, there are 737 stained glass windows, covering 1,800 square meters.  They're very difficult to photograph without a tripod and special equipment, which aren't allowed. The Cathedral is sometimes referred to as the "House of Light" because of the unique quality given to it by the stained glass. 
(You can click on the photographs in this blog for a closer view.)

The exterior of the Cathedral as it captures the warmth of the sun at the end of the day.

The rosette or rose windows of the Cathedral are known as some of the most spectacular in the world.  Most of the stained glass throughout the church is original from the 13th through 15th centuries  An exterior photograph gives viewers little idea of what they will see on the inside.

An interior view of one of the rosettes.

When I shot the final photographs before leaving the Cathedral, I purposely made them very dark to ensure that I captured the brilliant colors of the stained glass without washing them out.  While it obscured the interior details of the church, the glass shone brilliantly.  There was also something else I didn't expect.

While it seems impossible, a rosette from all the way across the Cathedral (at the main entrance of the Chruch) is perfectly projected onto the ribbed arches of the vault in the rear of the Cathedral, directly above the main alter.  It maintains its shape, colors and focus as it sits above the stained glass windows, perfectly in the center of the vault.  At first, I thought that I had accidently made a double exposure, which is very difficult to do by accident.  But the camera data shows that this is a single photograph.   It is the last exposure I made before exiting the church.  The rosette is much more visible in the photograph than it would have been to the eyes of those in the church because of its extreme underexposure.  Go back to the first photo in this post to see the same vault several minutes earlier without the projectied rosette.

A close-up of the projected rosette.

Is it possible that Gothic artists from the 13th century had the knowledge of optics, physics, and the engineering skills to purposely make a rose window project onto a distant wall?  Is this an accident of light, construction, and optics that was never planned?  Or is it a testament to the miracles that can happen when you're ready to see them? 

If anyone is familiar with this extreme effect of light in the "House of Light," please send me the details and I will post them.  Otherwise, you can still post your thoughts and opinions below in the comments section.

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1 comment:

  1. Wow! That IS amazing. I have been inside the Cathedral many times through the years and I had never noticed it. Very beautiful.