Before and After; St. Thomas the Apostle in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Conrad Schmitt Studios recently shared a 'before and after' project which is situated at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The 120 year old church had originally contained a mural of the Ascension within its apse which, regrettably, had been whitewashed. Fortunately, 'tempus fugit' and times change. While the pandemic was an unfortunate and trying time for most, one of the benefits that came out of it for this church was to take advantage of the opportunity and use the time to restore the Ascension mural, along with others to re-beautify this impressive structure.  

Historically here is what the church and its apse mural looked like:

And here is what it looked like prior to the restoration work:

Regrettably this was a common trend in the post-conciliar period, with many works of art being needlessly whitewashed in the name of 'noble simplicity.' However, what we ended up with was effectively an unfinished, monotone church.  After the restorations, here is how it now looks

Ironically, this notion of eliminating sacred art was often done with the idea of emphasizing the altar and sacred liturgy itself, but not only did this idea neglect to consider how sacred art can actually help to focus the mind and heart, it also neglected to consider how it can serve as a backdrop to emphasize precisely those very things. You will note here that the addition of background colour has actually made the altar more prominent -- not less.  Well done.

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