The Paulist Center Boston
Artwork Descriptions in Text

Description of the Chapel Artwork for the Visually Impaired

Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit";
and when he had said this he breathed his last." (Luke 23:46)

There are three main art pieces in this work: a cross, an image of the Crucified Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

The cross is a tree. It is mounted in the center of the back Sanctuary wall behind the Baptismal pool, and the base of the cross is located approximately 9.5 feet up from the sanctuary floor. This tree is 10 feet in height. The bark has been removed, and the artist has smoothed the surface of the trunk and dried it in a kiln. The trunk is split down the middle from top to bottom (reminiscent of the torn sanctuary curtain in the Passion narrative.) A branch protrudes from each side of the trunk. These branches represent the horizontal piece of the cross and are approximately 3.5 feet in length. These branches are not exactly symmetrical, so the image of a natural tree is evident and yet the implied cross is easily detected. There are four large metal nails embedded into the cross: one on each of the branches and two at the foot of the cross.

The corpus figure of Christ and the image of the Holy Spirit are suspended from the ceiling, over the baptismal pool. On the horizontal, the front of corpus is approximately 5 feet from the back wall. On the vertical, the top of the head of the Christ figure appears approximately 2 feet above the top of the cross. On the horizontal, the front of the Holy Spirit sculpture is approximately 8 feet from the back wall. On the vertical, the bottom of this piece appears to be approximately 3 feet above the top of the head. The image of the Holy Spirit is approximately 4.5 feet high, so the top of the piece is approximately 2 feet from the ceiling.

The corpus figure of Christ is a three-dimensional body shape and is 6 feet tall. This corpus is made of bronze and gold-plated wire mesh. The mesh is dark bronze at the feet, and the material gradually becomes more gold as you look at the torso and head. The back of the corpus is approximately 2 feet from the face of the cross; the top of the head is approximately 1.5 feet higher than the top of the cross. The face looks towards the ceiling (reminiscent of Christ looking toward the heavens). The chest is heaved upwards, indicating his last breath, and his willingness to give over his life to his Father in heaven. The five wounds of Christ are subtly present in this mesh. The face and upper body are bathed in light.

The Holy Spirit is an abstract image, indicative of the Spirit symbolized as a dove, flame, and breath of God within this one sculpture. It is composed of opaque white fiberglass and is approximately 4.5 feet high and 4 feet wide. The shape is reminiscent of a swirl of satin ribbon, with the wider portion on the horizontal, with representing nonfigurative wings of a dove. The vertical piece is narrower, and the curves of this portion of the fiberglass suggest the body of the dove descending as well as flame reaching toward the ceiling. In addition, because of the curves in this portion of the sculpture, there is a sense of the breath of God or wind.

 
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