I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions . . .

—Joel 2:28

From the outside, Montmartre’s Sacré-Cœur Basilica presents something of an aesthetic problem. It is a striking edifice, needless to say, soaring up as it does at the very summit of Paris, a bright white riot of demi-ovate domes and cupolas, elongated arches, and intrepidly clashing decorative motifs. But it is also very much a product of its time, with a little too much fin de siècle preciosity about it. If one views its alleged fusion of Romanesque and Byzantine styles at a sardonic slant, it can look suspiciously like a meretricious pastiche, full of late Romantic medievalist and orientalist clichés. Contemplated at a distance, under the Parisian sky, it all sometimes seems not so much an organic expression of the...

 

A Message from the Editors

Since 1982, The New Criterion has nurtured and safeguarded our delicate cultural inheritance. Join our family of supporters and secure the future of civilization.

Popular Right Now