Another Case Study in Colour and Detail: St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines, Iowa

Ecclesiastical Studio and Sons recently shared a project that they participated in at St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines, Iowa. Built at the end of the nineteenth century, between 1890-91, the cathedral underwent some early renovations in the 1920's and 1940's but of course the significant one's took place in the 1970's. This history brings us to the renovations undertaken by Ecclesiastical Studio and Sons (ESS). ESS undertook work to restore the plaster and refinishing the stations of the cross, but the main item of interest was their repainting of the entire cathedral and the construction of a backdrop for the bishop's cathedra.

The style of the cathedral is Romanesque revival for those wondering, and the newly painted work sets off a nice connection between the bishop's cathedra and the apse. 

The apse itself contains images of angels in an almost art deco style, while the cathedra -- itself Romanesque in style -- is found to include a diaper pattern of Greek crosses.

However the decorative scheme is not limited to the apse and the backdrop of the cathedra, but also includes other patterned ceiling decoration throughout the nave and chapel. 

All in all what we are presented with here in this project is another case study in the importance of colour and detail.  Structurally, the bones of this Romaneseque building have a beauty in their own right, but it is the coloured pattern and detailing which really makes those "bones" shine and which further add another whole layer of beauty and symbolism to the same. 

For those interested in what the building was like prior to this renovation, unfortunately this is the only picture we were able to secure:

And as always, we also like to provide the 'before the before':

If you're interested in seeing more of Ecclesiastical Studio and Sons work, please see them on social media or visit their website

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