What a wonderful follow up to our July 13th entry about the mosaics of Fr. Rupnik and the Centro Aletti Studio. Reader Greg Haas sent us this great first-hand account of being present for the installation of the mosaics in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. We’re grateful for Haas’ words and photographs. Enjoy – Nancie
The team never signs their work, but includes little mosaic animals as their signature…. here’s the one at Sacred heart…. un piccolo scoiattolo rosso – a little red squirrel.
Also, I was very fortunate in receiving the remainders of their supplies that the team didn’t need to take back to Italy…. They are proving a valuable and meaningful addition to my studio and its works for other Churches here in Texas.
Thanks for introducing their work to your readers! Perhaps the next time I wont have to go all the way to the East coast to see a Centro Aletti installation!
Mosaicist & President
Studio D’Oro LLC
Thanks again, Greg. To see more of Centro Aletti’s beautiful work, please check out our post of July 13th. Or, visit their website.
The Brittany Museum, part of Les Champ Libres in Rennes, France has an absolutely stunning show running through January 3, 2010 that chronicals the history of the Odorico Company. This prolific mosaic-making firm was founded by a Friuli transplant in late 1800′s and in the 1920′s and became the most active mosaic participant in the art deco movement.
Les Champ Libres has done an absolutely first-rate job of creating a website that virtually puts you in the middle of the exhibit. Seriously. I said, “OH!” out loud. It also provides wonderful information on materials and techniques, albeit in French. The illustrations are precise and humorous. Don’t miss the hammer and hardie driven explanation of materials. We have included a video from the exhibit below.
From the museum’s website:
“Mosaics made by the Odorico company can be seen on the facades of public buildings and shops and inside some of the finest houses in the west of France. The Saint-Georges swimming pool in Rennes, the Maison Bleue (Blue House) in Angers, the public bath house in Laval or the Gilbert pâtisserie in Saint-Brieuc… All of these Art deco monuments are decorated with sumptuous mosaics that honour the colourful and glittering memory of Odorico, a family firm that opened in Rennes in 1882 and plied its trade until 1978.
The exhibition traces the artistic and commercial fortunes of the Odorico family, Italian immigrants who left their native Friuli region at the end of the 19th century amid the financial crisis gripping Italy at the time.
The first generation of the family – brothers Isidore and Vincent – developed a large scale mosaic making business based on an original process known as the indirect method. After the First World War, the second generation – Isidore and Vincent – raised the company’s simple mosaics to the level of works of art, shining symbols of the art deco movement.
By inter-twining an intimate family story with the Odorico’s work building some of the regions richest cultural heritage, the exhibition tells a story of people, craftsmanship and some truly amazing creations.
From a historical point of view it covers the main steps in the economic development of the company. It also allows visitors to take a practical look at the mosaic maker’s art by re-creating the atmosphere of the Odorico company’s workshops, showing the technical advances and creative flair that allowed the company to leave its distinctive mark in cities right across the west of France. In addition the exhibition includes sketches and technical drawings showing how Odorico’s mosaics were planned for different kinds of buildings: shops, municipal bath houses, crèches, hospitals.
Since 1979, the Brittany Museum has had in its collections around a thousand drawings and sketches for mosaic designs that were donated by the last director of the Odorico company, Pierre Janvier. The images attest to the quality and variety of mosaics developed in the Odorico workshops and they have never before been put on public display.
The exhibition also has a number of documents and objects from private collections as well as decorative mosaic panels (from shops, post offices, swimming pools), films and a re-created workshop.
Mosaics made by the Odorico company can be seen on the facades of public buildings and shops and inside some of the finest houses in the west of France. This exhibition has a symbolic significance. It pays long overdue credit to an exceptional part of the region’s cultural heritage which is both familiar yet often poorly understood.
The company’s mosaics are a symbol of the family’s successful integration and and of artistic excellence.
Today the damage caused by pollution and property development are endangering this regional heritage. The exhibition is designed to appeal to all, whatever their age and it alms to attract as many visitors as possible in order to support efforts to protect the these unique mosaics.”
Here is a video from the exhibit in Rennes.
We weren’t kidding. You simply must check out these Brittany Museum links:
To see the presentation on materials, methods, and history, click:
The virtual tours are a little tricky, but worth following directions. After you click on the links below, wait for the background photo to fully load. Then press the forward arrow at the bottom of the graphic box and you’re good to go. Good luck! Or should we say, Bon Chance?
For basic information on museum hours and how to get there, click
One final note — We did a little more sleuthing and learned that Domenico Odorico emigrated to the US and carried on the family trade outside of Philadelphia. Sadly, he passed away in 2008. A quote from his obituary,
“By the time Mr. Odorico arrived in Phildelphia in 1962 he was already a master artisan who had created and installed several church murals in Austria, worked for seven years for his grandfather in Copenhagen, and worked on several projects in Canada, including the St. Anne de Beaupre Cathedral outside Quebec City.”
His son Rinaldo continues the family tradition with Odorico Construction Company in Pennsylvania.
Enjoy — Nancie
Yet another wonderful discovery in the restoration of the Christian mosaics of the Haghia Sophia. For me, this face is both naive and knowing.
Turkey’s Culture Minister Ertugrul Gunay speaks to journalists beside a well-preserved, long-hidden mosaic depicting the face of an angel which was uncovered by restoration workers in the former Byzantine cathedral of Haghia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, July 25, 2009. The seraphim figure, one of two located on the side of a dome, had been covered up along with the building’s other Christian mosaics shortly after Constantinople (the former name for Istanbul) fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 and the cathedral was turned into a mosque. The mosaics were plastered over according to a Muslim custom that prohibits the representation of humans. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Usta) – AP
An AP video is below. For our Facebook Fans — to see the video, copy and paste http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCBqw36IAUQ into your browser.
Enjoy — Nancie
Hmmmm. So many possible captions for this photo. “Separated at Birth?” “The Beards Have It?” “Outsider Artists United?”
All we know is that we wish we could have been the gecko on the wall when Isaiah Zagar and his wife Julia visited Anado McLauchlin and Richard Schultz at their home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico yesterday. Only Casa Las Ranas could have contained so much creative energy in one place at one time.
Anado was kind enough to send this photo along and we thank him for the giant smile it put on our face this morning. Would that every day had such joy in the in box.
“Leave your worries on THIS doorstep” July 8
“In A Dream: A Film by Jeremiah Zagar” July 7
Perhaps what we need here is a caption contest? Go ahead. Make our day. And Anado’s!
Enjoy — Nancie
Take a look at this wonderful video of the mosaics of Zeugma with a lovely narration that takes you through the history of Zeugma, commentary from researchers, and all-to0-brief views of the mosaics in the museum. Do stick around for the mosaic “serenade” at the end.
Thanks to blogger Denver Artsygal for the lead. She has many more mosaic videos to see. The link above will take you to one from the Mosaic School in Ravenna.
Enjoy — Nancie
Lillian Sizemore checked in with the winners from the Exhibition “Tesserae: Art of Mosaics” at the 2nd City Council Art Gallery in Long Beach, CA. Since Lillian did such a great job of speaking from the juror’s point of view in her blog, we’re just going to lift her words and photos and use them here. Information about the exhibit and Lillian are at the end of the post.
Enjoy — Nancie
The Tesserae: Art of Mosaics Artists Reception on Saturday, July 11th, was well attended with lots of good vibes all around. 2nd City Council Art Gallery honors artists by giving cash awards in support of their work. As juror, I was asked to make these selections, and it was my honor to choose the following artworks. (photos by Lillian Sizemore)
Thanks so much, Lillian. And now for some photos from the Reception.
(photos by Carole Choucair Oueijian and Lillian Sizemore)
2nd City Council Art Gallery + Performance Space is located at:
435 Alamitos Avenue, Long Beach, CA
Hours: Wednesday – Sunday Noon to 5 p.m.
One of the things I like best about editing Mosaic Art NOW is that I am constantly uncovering new and wonderful things. No sooner do I decide on a topic to write about when Eureka! — in doing the research I discover something completely new and wonderful.
My most recent discovery is Fr. Marko Rupnick and the Centro Aletti studio in Rome.
A few months ago, I happened upon the website of Sacred Heart University of Fairfield, CT USA. There, I found a treasure trove of images chronicling the installation of a series of liturgical mosaics that were remarkable for their scope and beauty in their brand new Chapel of the Holy Spirit.
The mosaics were massive and covered thousands of square feet of wall space, much of it in hand-formed tesserae of covered in gold leaf. Equally impressive was the fact that the chapel had clearly been designed specifically for the mosaics. The result is a light-filled space where these works of art can easily inspire thought, contemplation and devotion. As the website says, “The interior project . . leaves no doubt as to the building’s intended purpose as a place of worship – the new chapel will serve as the spiritual center of the campus.“
Unfortunately, (at that time) the photos above were all I could transfer from SHU’s website. The majority — covering everything from cartooning, to substrate preparation, to layout, to gold leafing — are embedded in a slide show. I couldn’t provide access here to either of the two excellent videos, either.
Rats. I like to think you folks come here for the words, but I know it’s the images that you’re really looking for. So . . . what to do?
More digging on the SHU website. Who was this master mosaicist, Father Rupnick, and the crew of 15 men and women from Europe who helped to construct the Chapel mosaic? I checked the biography on SHU’s website. That’s when I struck gold. Lots and lots of gold.
Like SHU’s Chapel, the glorious mosaic above is the work of the Centro Aletti, a learning center and mosaic atelier in Rome where Father Rupnick is the Director. The Centro Aletti is connected with the Pontifical Oriental Institute and serves as an educational facility dedicated to the advancement of studies on Eastern Christianity. Father Rupnick himself is a native of Slovenia and the cultural aesthetic of eastern Europe clearly informs all of the atelier’s work which is done by priests and nuns. The result is art that is surprisingly fresh and modern even as it challenges ancient techniques and remains true to the traditions of iconography.
As always, there are links to everything noted here at the end of this post. In this case, they are very much worth your time to explore. For now, some sublime sacred images.
Enjoy – Nancie
From the website: “The terracotta on which the gold leaf is laid was handcrafted, so that gold tesserae may create a rich array of tones and nuances of colour. Movement is provided in different areas of the mosaic by ‘flows’ of gold tesserae, according to a pattern which adds further vibrancy to the surface, along vertical and horizontal lines.”
Sanctuairie de Notre Dame de Lourdes, France
- Sacred Heart University website (photos & videos) http://www.sacredheart.edu/pages/17602_chapel_artwork.cfm
- Centro Aletti: (photos, videos, publications)Be sure to click”Spiritual Art” http://www.centroaletti.com/index_ing.htm
Welcome to Casa las Ranas (House of the Frogs), home of outsider artist Anado McLauchlin and art historian Richard Schultz. This multi-colored, multi-cultural, multi-faith home is a work of art from floor to ceiling to gardens.
McLauchlin calls himself a “self-taught assemblage artist” and spirituality informs much of his creations which include furniture, jewelry, and shrines. His life appears to have been a whirlwind of creativity. When his work was deemed too “decorative” for Oklahoma in the 70′s, he moved to the Tribeca/Soho area. When that space became too “gentrified”, he went to India and lived in an ashram. Returning to the US, he settled in Sausalito — that artist colony across the Bay from San Francisco. He and partner Schultz bought the Mexican property in 2001 and have completely transformed the home and gardens.
Between McLauchlin’s art and Schultz collection, the interior design style of the house is probably best characterized by the LATimes — “Aboriginal/Asian/Aztec-on-acid” I think that just about says it all.
More photos below and links to the full photo album by photographer Anna Summa and Mr. McLauchlin’s website.
Mr. McLauchlin’s website — which is fascinating.
Enjoy — Nancie
Synopsis: Over the past four decades, Isaiah Zagar has covered more than 50,000 square feet of Philadelphia with stunning mosaic murals. In A Dream is a documentary feature film that chronicles his work and his tumultuous relationship with his wife, Julia. It follows the Zagars as their marriage implodes and a harrowing new chapter in their life unfolds.
(Facebook viewers – if you do not see the video, you can see it on the Mosaic Art Now blog.)
We live in a world of reality TV. The cast of characters in this movie – a Philadelphia artist, his wife, and two sons – expose their lives in disturbing detail: attempted suicide, addiction, infidelity, breakups, and reconciliations.
It is the account of a son who knows his father is a great person and wants to chronicle his life, and in doing so comes to terms with the emotional and physical chaos in which he grew up.
It is a love story between Isaiah and Julia who came of age in the 60s countercultural revolution and lived a life true to its beliefs.
It is an insight into the mind of a man who confronts his inner demons through his artwork.
This film is not about mosaics or mosaic making. Zagar is not a “mosaic artist” but an artist who uses mosaic as a vehicle to express himself. And his mosaics are the perfect metaphor for his life. Up close the pieces are fragmented, spaced far apart in a slipshod manner, confused, and ugly. But just stand back. Stand back and everything comes together with incredible clarity and beauty. These mosaics are larger than life.
This film a story of the human condition – our story – of passion, liberation, harm, hurt, loss, expression, and redemption.
It is well worth seeing. Check the film’s blog for screening dates – or get the DVD when it is released at the end of September. You can preorder it through Amazon.
In a Dream website:
Blog with Upcoming Screenings
Isaiah Zagar’s website