Yesterday's Featured Article - Glory hole
A glory hole is a type of architectural adornment that first became fashionable in the Italian Renaissance period. Glory holes in this time were often covered in gold leaf, and had either bas-relief or, in sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini's case, sculptural details that came out of the frame too much to be considered as such, and were generally imagery from both Biblical creatures and Classical creatures, most notably angels and cherubs, for it was convention that the creatures be able to fly because of the large scale on which these glory holes were often constructed.
But the form of the glory hole has changed a lot over the years. As a seminal piece of the YBA movement that pervaded during 1992, artist Tracey Emin installed Glory Hole at the Tate Modern in London: two walls of a toilet cubicle, one of which with a small hole in around the middle of the door with a few strips of duct tape so that, as Emin put it, "the viewer [could] more comfortably slide his/her eyes in and out through the hole." This changed the public's perception of the glory hole dramatically.
In the Italian Renaissance, glory holes served two purposes for the rich clergymen who were the usual clientele for the architects and sculptors who built them: (1) as a statement of how well-endowed the people who commissioned and displayed them were when entertaining guests, and (2) so that owners could perform various parts of their daily routines, often accompanied by their wives, such as praying, for these tremendous objects usually portrayed religious iconography, and were seen as a way of getting closer to God.
On the left here is one of many glory holes in St. Peter's Cathedral, Rome/Vatican City. Although traditionally used by popes after Pope Paul Borghese V, the founder of St. Peter's, this one is now used mainly for display purposes, though is still used for some ceremonies and special occasions. (more...)