Sanctuary, John Maine RA, Salisbury Cathedral, until 23rd July.
Salisbury Cathedral is such a special place and because it was built in 38 years (1220-1258) is, unlike other English medieval cathedrals, in just one architectural style – early English Gothic. The tower and spire were added fifty years later and, by the way, the spire at 123 metres is the country’s tallest.
Although the ‘Sanctuary’ installations around and within the Cathedral were not my main purpose in visiting the Cathedral it was a welcome feature as I had very much enjoyed Maine’s exhibition ‘After Cosmati’ at the Royal Academy in 2011. The theme of the exhibition is the idea of “sanctuary” in its various forms and indeed the visitor is tempted to touch or even sit on some of them. They give a sense of permanence and stillness.
Sarah Mullally, (Canon Treasurer and Chairman of the Cathedral’s Exhibitions Committee), says “Salisbury Cathedral is testament to the beauty of stone both in its strength and its ability to portray detail. The crafts men and women who built this wonderful building did so to enable us to journey with them to the heavens. John Maine’s sculptures both complement and provide a contrast to the stone of the Cathedral and the landscape of the Cathedral Close. The pieces seek to bring us on a journey not just heavenwards but, like any good labyrinth, inwards; quieting the mind and stilling the heart. Maybe it is here that we encounter sanctuary in a busy world.”