Domes 5. The Ball and the Cross

Gilbert Keith Chesterton published his novel “The Ball and the Cross” in 1910, the same year in which the current church of San Manuel y San Benito opened in Madrid. I don’t know (and I think that is not that relevant to the story) if the architect, Fernando Arbós, and the novelist, ever got into contact, but in fact when I see this church it reminds me of the title of the novel. On one side, the building is a neo-byzantine architecture, rather scarce as style goes in Madrid, and it takes a high visibility profile, at an angle with calle de Alcalá, so the tower is more visible. There is something in the complex decoration and in the building layout and its relation with the Retiro Park that reminds me of Chesterton, the “prince of paradox”. A side effect of reading such books?



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