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 or what its provenance is.  [It's unfortunate, but not uncommon. I would venture to say that all archives have at least a box or two of infuriatingly unidentified items.]

The provenance of this Paul VI mosaic is 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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