41.5 million pieces of tesserae were used to create 83,000 square feet of mosaic in The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. Spanning 75 years, three generations of artisans shaped the images depicting faith, history, art and architecture.
Recently, the Lovely Linda and I traveled to St. Louis to celebrate the 25th anniversary of dear, dear friends Larry and John. On our way to the Saint Louis Art Museum, we turned into the parking lot at the Cathedral, "just to stop for a minute and take quick look."
This is not a space entered into casually or briefly. When the heavy oak doors whispered shut and our eyes adjusted to the natural light, we gasped in disbelief. Soaring overhead, inlaid under our feet, on virtually every vertical and horizontal surface, mosaic.
As we silently moved into the body of the cathedral, we were cloaked in awe. Not knowing which way to turn or where to look first, we wandered without direction.
Shortly after arriving, we realized a private mass was being held in the Blessed Sacrament chapel. The priest's voice was barely audible, but when the nuns began to sing, I collapsed into a pew and held my breath. Yes, their voices and harmonies were beautiful, but the notes seemed to be tinged in gold, glinting off tiny pieces of tesserae over their heads.
It felt a violation of the sacred to take photographs, so I took very few. Although these hardly begin to capture the grandeur of the Cathedral, they do speak to the intimacy of the moment.
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