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