Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New Paintings at La Crosse, Wisconsin

Just to show naysayers that traditional art and architecture are possible in this benighted age, I think we should remember we are a mere handful of weeks away from the dedication of Archbishop Burke's brainchild, La Crosse, Wisconsin's Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. While, of course, Duncan Stroik is the principal figure in the overall design--especially with regards to the splendid interior--this has truly been a collaborative project. Nothing would have gotten off the ground without the guidance and good taste of His Grace, first and foremost, who remains a model patron. Local firm River Architects produced much of the exterior, working in tandem with Mr. Stroik, while the shrine's numerous paintings and some of its sculpture have been supervised by Philadelphia sacred artist Anthony Visco, who personally sculpted the magnificent angels atop the shrine baldachin, the tondi of the Marian doctors over the crossing, and a remarkable illusionistic fresco over the narthex.

Mr. Visco has been kind enough to share some photos of the work in progress with the New Liturgical Movement, and I will be posting selections of his paintings and sculpture for the Shrine in the next few weeks. The first installment appears below. Please enjoy these paintings of the four Marian doctors--Saints Ambrose, Ephrem, John Damascene, and Cyril of Alexandria. All but one of these, bear in mind, show them before installation. The perspective and bright colors of the originals are intended to respond to the placement high up in the pendentives supporting the shrine's dome, as you will discover in the final photograph of the series, showing St. Ephrem in situ.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: