Between 1624 and 1633, Bernini installed in Saint Peter's a monumental dais in the shape of a baldaccino. Such a staging of the sacrifice of the Mass and the real presence, renewing the Paleo-Christian tradition of the ciborium, immediately prompted imitators in France, notably in the Val-de-Grace (1665). But it was not until the middle of the next century that altars in the 'Roman style' and 'tomb altars' in the shape of a table were fully developed in France (e.g., in Valence Cathedral). Even then there were problems: in 1753, the chapter of Noyon Cathedral was bitterly divided over the question of the installation of such an altar, and decided to place the affair before the king's counsel - who came down in favour of those who supported innovation.
In monastic and collegiate churches that functioned as parishes, choirs were reorganized. The opaque barrier of the older medieval jube now became lighter and more transparent through the use of iron-work, and a small altar was attached to the bottom of one of the pillars at the choir entrance for celebration of the parish Mass. Such modifications were made with the intention of bringing the faithful closer to the liturgical act, particularly the consecration.
Other church furnishings also acquired new significance. The pulpit was placed in the middle of the nave to facilitate contact between the priest and his congregation. It took on monumental proportions, was provided with a sound-breakto improve the acoustics, and acquired a characteristic iconography (e.g., the four evangelists, or the pelican devouring its entrails to nourish its children, as a symbol of Christ). The practice of auricular confession developed alongside missions and sermons, and a new piece of furniture was designed and installed in proportion to the number of priests serving the parish. (About this time Prague Cathedral brought back devotion to Saint Jean Nepomucene, martyred for having refused to divulge a confessional secret.) Finally, organs frequently came to attain monumental proportions, with several different instruments now merged into a single panel containing several cases - the positive organ, the great organ, the choir, and the echo. The instrument's location within the church might vary. In Protestant churches it was often placed above the pulpit, but it was usually set at the back of the nave in French Catholic churches. There might even be two organs, one in each arm of the transept (as in Einsiedeln). And in large churches, an additional instrument was placed in the choir or on the enclosure to accompany collegiate or monastic services.
Neither the evolution of architectural design nor the development of church furnishings can explain, in and by themselves, the originality of buildings of
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