Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Stanford Memorial Church

Jane Stanford built this church as a memorial to her husband Leland Stanford on the campus of the university that they had founded. The Romanesque building was designed by architect Charles A. Coolige in 1898 and dedicated in 1903.

The original church facade in 1903 before the earthquake.

The Stanfords traveled extensively in Europe and they brought their love of art and architecture back to California, where Mrs. Stanford incorporated a Byzantine style into the decorations of the church. Antonio Paoletti created original watercolor paintings upon which Salviati - under the direction of Maurizio Camerino - made the mosaic decorations for both the interior and exterior. Paoletti previously designed the scenes for the Stations of the Cross at the Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola in New York, which Salviati also made into mosaics.

The mosaic work on the Stanford Memorial Church began in 1900, took five years to complete, and cost $97,000. Jane Stanford was heavily involved in approving the designs and Salviati mosaicist Lorenzo Zampato supervised the in-studio manufacture in Venice, as well as the installation in California.

Unfortunately, the church was subsequently damaged in two earthquakes - first in 1906 and then later in 1989.

Exterior damage caused by the 1906 earthquake.

Interior damage caused by the 1906 earthquake.

Camerino had the Salviati firm restore the mosaics between 1913 and 1917. Because the original designs were kept, some were reproduced in their original form, while others were modified.

The north facade today.

The mosaic of The Last Supper in the chancel is a reproduction Roselli's fresco in the Sistine Chapel.

Barr, Sheldon. Venetian Glass Mosaics: 1860-1917. London: Antique Collectors' Club, 2008.
Sinai and Sons
National Parks Service on Wikimedia Commons
Frank Davey on Wikimedia Commons
The Bankcroft Library
Eric Chan (Maveric2003) on Flickr
Ed Bierman on Flickr
Typeaux on Panoramio

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