Treasures: Mosaic at St. Peter in Chains
The mosaic in Cincinnati’s cathedral wasn’t original to the building, but was created for the 1957 renovation and expansion that completely changed its look from a more continental style to one influenced by the art of ancient Greece. From the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains (Cincinnati):
The Venetian glass mosaic which fills the rear wall of the sanctuary is the largest such work in the United States: 35 feet high and about 40 feet wide. Its design, based on the ideas of Archbishop Alter, was developed by Anton Wendling, a professor of the University of Aachen, Germany, and associate artist of the T.C. Esser Stained Glass and Mosaic Studios in Milwaukee.
The thousands of small pieces of stone and glass were produced and mounted in reverse on linen by craftsmen in the United States and Germany. Under the supervision of master craftsman Erhard Stoettner, workers brought from Germany under a special permit issued by the State Department. installed the mosaic in mortar on a masonry background.
In the center, below the figure of Christ, a Latin text is inscribed: “Et Petrus quidem servabatur in caràere vinctus catenis” – “And Peter was imprisoned, bound with chains.”
The title of the Cathedral, Saint Peter in Chains, is represented by continuous links of a chain framing the mural. This design emphasizes the fact that from the very beginning anti-Christian forces have tried to obstruct the work of the Church.
Photo courtesy St. Peter in Chains Cathedral.
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