Monday, November 14, 2011

Mosaics at Holy Cross

I've been looking forward to seeing this famous artwork at Holy Cross Cemetery, which is on display at the Holy Cross link and at right. The pictures, this and two smaller pieces, were created by famed artist Isabel Piczek.

I've blogged about her work before. She and her sister Edith are well-known in both Catholic and artistic circles for the pictures they've created on three continents.

So I get to the cemetery in Culver City (remember when it used to be so visible from the 405?), drive to the mausoleum on the hill, park, and finally I can view the stylized, 1300-square-foot artwork first from afar, then up close. Because the way the mausoleum is designed, you can walk right up to it and lay your hand on its flat, painted acrylic resin surface...

...Holy chimera, Batman! Those aren't mosaics!

They're a famous mosaicist. Stunning murals, but not mosaics.

The mural above contains (according to Holy Cross's brochure) the Complete Theology of the Resurrection--the RISEN CHRIST, the Descent to Sheol and the Ascent.

The descent to Sheol (the gates of hell) is on the left, and his ascent into heaven is on the right, so actually there are three Christ figures in the painting. Also represented are Noah, Abraham, Moses, Ruth, David, and more.

Well, I looked around, and found some mosaics--in a more primitive style--which I think complement the ultra modern (by 20th century standards) mural quite well. These small mosaics represent the stations of the cross. They look to be about 14-16 inches square, but they're way up high so I can't be sure.

The one at top must be "Jesus meets the woman of Jerusalem." Below that, as he carries his cross, I can't be sure of the station. Sorry!

I'm just really glad the pictures came out. My little Kodak Easy Share really performed like a champion.

Holy Cross produces five pages of text about the symbolism and history of these murals, but not one word about the mosaics. No idea who the artist was (I did ask).

I include the station number (Nine) on the picture on the right to show that I did not rotate the picture. This mosaic shows Jesus falling for the third time.

To Catholic school veterans like myself, these pictures and their titles will bring back memories of the once-a-week trek to church to perform the Stations of the Cross during Lent. The idea, of course, is to learn to appreciate the pain and suffering endured as Christ carried his cross up the hill to be crucified, but I think most school kids are too busy passing notes (or texting, today) and giggling about how funny the priest sounds when he sings (yes, there is musical accompaniment to the Stations of the Cross) to fully absorb the deeper lessons.

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