Restoration in Arkansas Church

The Arkansas Catholic reports on a 1935 mural’s restoration in a Helena, Arkansas church. It’s hard to tell definitively from this image, but this art seems to be a definite cut above the plaster mold look of preconciliar (and some post-conciliar) churches. Naturally, most parishioners hated it. So they covered it up with a curtain in 1940. In the 70’s, people painted the names above the six Old Testament prophets. (Don’t blame the progressives; remember that we’re in the no-explanation, let-the-symbols-speak mode. It must have been the catechists.)

Parishioner Annetta Beauchamp has been a long-time advocate for the mural’s restoration, having been in touch over the decades with Charles and Dorothy Quest, the artists who painted the wall back in the 30’s. Casein, a milk byproduct, was mixed with mica to create the original paint.

Beauchamp said, “Mrs. Quest said she stayed on her knees for months. They ordered the pigments from a place in New York City and she ground every one of them with mortar and pestle and she mixed it with … buttermilk and eggs in from the farm every day and that was done exactly like the early Christian days.”

Cool. Not at all like varnishing a violin with your wife’s blood.

By the way, thanks to Amy, I found out about Catholic News Hub, a new service in which various local stories are provided by CNS at their site.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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