A Dim Religious Light

Interior of Heinz Chapel

But let my due feet never fail
To walk the studious cloister’s pale,
And love the high embowed roof,
With antique pillars massy proof,
And storied windows richly dight,
Casting a dim religious light.
There let the pealing organ blow,
To the full-voic’d quire below,
In service high, and anthems clear,
As may with sweetness, through mine ear,
Dissolve me into ecstasies,
And bring all Heav’n before mine eyes.

——Milton, Il Penseroso.

It is difficult to convey in a photograph the impression we get from entering a glorious Gothic church like Heinz Chapel. In general photographs are too light, either because the photographers laudably attempted to capture the many artistic details of the Gothic interior, or because they used automatic exposure and let their cameras do the thinking. Old Pa Pitt has tried very hard in these pictures to give some impression of the relative lighting as we enter the chapel from the bright light outside. Most of the light is dim, but a pool of light shines in the distance, drawing us toward the altar.

Toward the altar
Toward the rear

No matter how bright it may be outside, turning to leave the church is walking away from the light.

Elevator in the Grand Staircase, Carnegie Institute

Elevator doors

One of the exceptionally elegant elevators in the Grand Staircase of the Carnegie Museums in Oakland.

Elevator interior

Lobby of the Arrott Building

The small but richly gorgeous lobby of the Arrott Building as it appeared in 2013, before the current renovations.


A brass letterbox, meticulously polished, in the lobby of the Frick Building. Many buildings downtown have letterboxes like these, with mail chutes coming down from the upper floors.