Friday 17 October 2014

Record of the Week: Pope Paul VI Mosaic

This Sunday, Pope Paul VI (1963-1978) will be beatified, which is the first step towards sainthood.  The ceremony is scheduled for the closing Mass of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family.

For many years, this mosaic portrait of Pope Paul VI has stood over the Archives' workroom.  It's one of those pieces that has been here for as long as anyone can remember; no one knows how it got here.

Everything about the mosaic remained a complete mystery to us until the Summer of 2021, when the daughter of Luigi Nasato contacted us identifying her father as the creator. Italian by birth, Mr. Nasato moved to Argentina before settling in Canada in 1959. He worked as a mosaicist for years before the focus of his career shifted towards helping redesign churches after the Second Vatican Council. Thanks to a photograph shared by Mr. Nasato's daughter, we know the mosaic was completed and hanging in the Conn-Arts studio by 1965. 

Luigi Nasato's prolific public works of art were donated  to York University

How this Pope Paul VI mosaic came to the archives is still a mystery, but it looks very nice in the Archives.  

One interesting factoid about mosaics: all of the "paintings" that decorate the interior of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome are not paintings at all; they're mosaics. As a tour guide once explained to me, paintings fade but mosaics last forever. And all of the artwork inside the Basilica was designed to stand the test of time.

You can read more about the Paul VI's beatification in this Catholic Register article.

Mosaics like this one and those in St. Peter's Basilica are made of tesserae, small pieces of coloured glass.

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