FEATURE image: Joan Miró, Joan Miró’s Chicago (sometimes Miss Chicago), steel reinforced-concrete, colored ceramics, 1967, Brunswick Building Plaza, 69 W. Washington Street, Chicago. This artwork is Miró’s only monumental sculpture. Text & artwork photograph by author.
Joan Miró (1893-1983) is a Catalan who is a major dadaist artist “Dada” is a nonsense word but its artistic movement that started around 1915 in Zürich, Switzerland, has brought into existence many famous artworks by a range of artists. As World War I raged on in Europe between 1914 and 1918, young artists and intellectuals reacted with art, performance, and poetry that was radically experimental, dissident and anarchic. These artists countered the horrors of the war and capitalist culture by moving past a degradation of art to contributing to an anti-art under the banner of “dada.” These ideas and ideals of dada quickly spread to the art capitals of Paris and New York – and beyond.
Joan Miró’s Chicago is the artist’s first monumental sculpture in the world.
Joan Miró’s Chicago is in this dada milieu as it sits in the Brunswick Building Plaza, directly across Washington Street from another Spanish artist’s 50-foot-tall Cor-Ten steel sculpture from the same time (1967): Chicago’s Picasso in Daley Plaza. Miró’s sculpture expresses the neck, bustline, and slim and wasp-waisted hips of a woman’s torso with outstretched arms and a simplified head. She is made of steel-reinforced concrete with brightly colored ceramics that are added to the scooped-out hem of her skirt. Like other of Miró’s sculptures of female figures from the 1950s, the shape of the skirt is that of an overturned broad-lipped cup or chalice. The bronze, crown-like headdress is like the dadaist found objects that populated Miró’s artwork whether paintings, sculptures, ceramics and more throughout his career. Joan Miró’s Chicago possesses qualities evocative of primitive fertility or earth goddesses similar to those found in the ancient Mediterranean world.
One of Dada’s major sculptural forms to emerge and which was masterly accomplished by Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), was the “readymade” which used familiar mass-produced objects (i.e., ceramic urinals, household tools, etc.) for high art pieces. The dada expression of the readymade increasingly asked the viewer to take seriously these consumer items and found objects as high art on an equal platform with lofty traditional productions of a monied arts establishment.
Dadaists experimented boldly with new media such as collage (Jean Arp, 1886-1966), airbrushed photography (Man Ray, 1890-1976) and nonsensical poetry (Hugo Ball, 1886-1927). These art forms freely combined as well as crossed over its categories, i.e., nonsensical poetry interpreted in performance art.
Miró’s art does not accept the world as it is.
In the 1930’s and 1940’s Miró worked with material such as paper, string and even toothbrushes and, sometime later, natural objects such as rocks and fruits to make loose, playlike assemblies, many of which due to fragility or destruction, did not survive. Miró did not transform or repurpose these found objects – bells, jars, vases – but by leaving them alone saw they retained what the artist called their own “magical powers.” Miró’s more permanent artworks – paintings, ceramics, plaster or bronze sculptures, etc. – possess the same randomness as his looser assemblies which is the artist’s intended reflection of nature’s promiscuous progeny. The artist turns his back on established art principles and pursues his own independence which, following intuition unto slow resolve, improbably marries diverse objects of recognizable forms making for an assembly of more than one class or nature. They are of a realm not always of this world.
Though Miró completed a maquette of the sculpture in 1967 (called Project for a Monument for Barcelona), its production into a 40-foot sculpture – the artist’s only monumental sculpture – was delayed until 1979. The hundreds of thousands of dollars for the production and installation of Joan Miró’s Chicago was provided by a private-public partnership in Chicago.
A Guide to Chicago Public Sculpture, Ira J. Bach and Mary Lackritz Gray, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 1983, pp. 73-74.
Chartres Cathedral in France is famous perhaps mostly for its stained glass. From the 12th and early 13th centuries, the shimmering beauty of its intact colorful windows is unparalleled. Almost all the windows are “read” from left to right starting at the base and ascending to the top.
Most of the church was rebuilt following a devastating fire in 1194 which destroyed much of the extant church and city. Notable exceptions were the mid12th-century west front with its royal doors and two contrasting towers. The rest of the church that is visited today – including, with a few exceptions, its magnificent stained glass windows – was rebuilt and crafted between 1195 and 1220.
These three doors of the West Royal Portal open directly onto the nave. They are an important part of what remains of the original mid12th century church since the rest of it was destroyed in the 1194 blaze. The portal displays a rigorous sculpture program taken from the Bible and Christian apocryphal writings. The precise identity of the column statues on either side of the doors is not certain.
The 12th century artist’s ambition was to concentrate the life of these statues in their faces. While Chartres cathedral’s flying buttresses and its stained glass are rightly world famous, some art historians believe that it is the statuary that is the cathedral’s most interesting aspect. The statuary certainly represents 12th century art at its zenith.
SOURCES: Chartres: Guide of the Cathedral, Étienne Houvet, revised Malcolm B. Miller, Editions Houvet-la Crypte, n.d.
FEATURE Image: Cook/DuPage Cos., Willow Springs, IL. The Worker, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Camp Chicago-Lemont, Company 612, est. June 4, 1933. Author’s photograph, 6/2018 6mb.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a major program in President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Called “Mr. Roosevelt’s Tree Army,” there were over 50 such camps in Illinois alone and over 1000 special projects in the state between April 1933 and July 1942. The camp at Willow Springs was one of FDR’s first such camps established in spring 1933. The Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy indicates June 4, 1933 as the establishment date for Camp Chicago-Lemont, Company 612 in Willow Springs, Illinois.
The recent statue called The Worker was dedicated on June 3, 2001 to commemorate the dedication and spirit of the young men, aged 17 to 28 years old, who served in the CCC and specifically in Willow Springs, Illinois. The larger-than-life-sized bronze CCC Worker Statue stands at the intersection of Archer Avenue (Route 171) and Willow Boulevard in Willow Springs Woods, and is one of many such similar statues that stand on the American landscape in tribute to the men of the CCC.
The purpose of this government “alphabet” program, one of the New Deal’s most successful, was multi-faceted. The primary motivation was to address staggering unemployment numbers of up to 25% (and higher in certain pockets of the country) caused by the collapse of the private enterprise system in the Great Depression that started on Wall Street in October 1929. The CCC was specifically designed to give jobs to young men and so to relieve their families who had great difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression.
Camps proliferated all over the country in every state. In its nine years and 3 months duration the CCC employed upwards of 3 million young men between 17 and 28 years old. For their manual labor jobs related to conservation and the development of natural resources provided by the federal program, these men received their food, clothing, lodging, medical and dental attention, along with a paycheck of $30 a month (around $600 in today’s dollars), most of which ($25) had to be sent home to their struggling families. The popular program enjoyed wide bi-partisan and public support.
Each camp could house around 200 men and, while the lifestyle was quite simple, it beat panhandling on the streets in the mind of most of the CCC’s young enrollees.
The Emergency Conservation Work (EWC) Act, or CCC, was part of the Emergency Session of the 73rd Congress that FDR called on March 9, 1933, just days after his first inauguration. FDR promised if granted emergency powers he would have 250,000 men in camps by the end of July 1933. Senate Bill S. 598 was introduced on March 27, 1933, passed both houses of Congress and was signed by FDR on March 31, 1933, less than one month into his 4-year term. Though opposed at first by Big Labor who feared that jobs would be filled by this army of non-union workers, the Roosevelt Administration went ahead and mobilized the men, material, transportation and necessary bureaucracy to establish the CCC on a scale never seen before in the United States in peacetime. Dated April l5, 1933, Executive Order 6101 authorized the program, appointed Robert Fechner (1876-1939) as its first director and established an Advisory Council with representatives from the War, Labor, Agriculture and Interior Departments. It was part of “the 100 days” that marked the passage into law of a series of 15 major bills during FDR’s first 100 days as the 32nd U.S. president.
The Federal program provided that these work projects took place mostly on rural lands owned by government entities. CCC workers throughout the country were credited with renewing the nation’s decimated forests by planting an estimated three billion trees between 1933 and 1942. Their work also revived the nation’s crumbling or nonexistent infrastructure.
The CCC was immensely popular, but Pearl Harbor effectively ended it. With the establishment of the draft and industry involved in the war effort, the government no longer needed to subsidize work. In 1942, the last CCC camps were dismantled or repurposed for the army.
With the exception of Social Security and the Rural Electrification Act, no program of the New Deal era has ever had a greater influence on the country. In Illinois alone, the impact was remarkable. Over 92,000 men worked in the CCC in the state. An estimated 60 million trees were planted, 400 bridges built, 1,200 miles of trail made and nearly 5,000 flood-control apparati put in place.
FEATURE image: Capt. A. Lincoln, Illinois Volunteer Militia, Black Hawk War, 1832, bronze, 1930. by Leonard Crunelle (1872-1944), Dixon, Illinois. The large bronze statue was the first prominent public depiction of the 16th U.S. president as a young adult man. Author’s photograph, 6/2017 4.70mb.
Illinois in the early 1830s was the edge of the American frontier and virtually wilderness. The Native American tribes were being expelled from the northern tier of the state established in 1818 by ceding their lands to the U.S Federal Government. Most of the Native Americans were pushed out of the state by treaty by the end of the 1820s. This quickly changed the landscape of a rapidly growing Illinois by way of new arrivals of settlers from the East in the 1840s and 1850s. Settlers were accompanied by ambitious commercial projects such as transportation canals and, even more impressive, the railroads, all of which worked to open up the Middle West of the United States to global markets and industrial prosperity.
Abraham Lincoln, born in a Kentucky log cabin in 1809, was 21 years old when he arrived into Illinois in 1830 with his family from Indiana. During the 1832 Black Hawk War, the 23-year-old Abe Lincoln lived in New Salem, Illinois, and was elected captain in the Illinois National Guard. The bronze statue, cast in 1930, of Lincoln in Dixon, Illinois, depicts for the first time a yet untapped aspect of the 16th president’s life and career for his ever-expanding public iconology – that of the youthful adult Lincoln starting out in his career.
Lincoln enlisted in the Illinois Volunteers on April 21, 1832 near Richland Creek in Sangamon County which was located about halfway between New Salem and Springfield, Illinois. The next day, Lincoln mustered into state service at Beardstown, Illinois, about 40 miles to the west on the Illinois River.
The 6-foot-4-inch Lincoln was elected captain, a position he said he was both surprised and proud to receive.
Lincoln mustered into U.S. service near Janesville, Wisconsin on May 3, 1832. He mustered out on May 27, 1832 in Ottawa, Wisconsin. Lincoln never fired a shot.
On that same day of May 27, 1832 Lincoln re-enlisted as a private in Captain Iles’ company. When that enlistment expired, Lincoln re-enlisted again in Captain Early’s company.
Lincoln finally mustered out of military service on July 10, 1832 at Whitewater, Wisconsin.
Young Lincoln was stationed in Dixon, Illinois, at Fort Dixon on the Rock River where this statue — unveiled in late September 1930 — stands. The sculptor is French-born Leonard Crunelle (1872-1944).
Crunelle’s immigrant family arrived in Illinois in 1889 and settled in Decatur, about 40 miles east of Springfield, Lincoln’s hometown. When Crunelle worked in the local mines, he started making fired clay sculptures. His work was brought to the attention of prominent American sculptor and teacher Lorado Taft (1860-1936) who brought young Crunelle to Chicago to study at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. At the same time, Crunelle began to do decorative work for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.
The bronze sculpture of Lincoln – who later as a lawyer and politician expressed pride in his brief military service – is one of the first attempts to depict the Great Emancipator in his youth. Though Crunelle had made a statue called Lincoln the Debater for display in a park in Freeport, Illinois, in 1929 the slightly later Capt. A. Lincoln in Dixon, Illinois, depicted Lincoln more than half the great debater’s age.
FEATURE Image: Old Testament prophets window, Mausoleum, Queen of Heaven Cemetery, Hillside, Illinois. This is one of scores of original stained glass and artifacts in the mausoleum in Chicago’s near western suburbs.
The crucifix today is located in a southern section of Queen of Heaven cemetery in Hillside, Illinois. The cemetery is almost 500 acres that offers extensive in-ground burials as well as large indoor and outdoor mausoleum complexes where each year there are thousands of new burials. Since 1947, many notable Chicago-area figures from the world of politics, sports, religion, and business, including several gangland figures, are buried in these consecrated precincts. Overall, there are around 125,000 burials in the cemetery.
In the expansive mausoleum is a gallery of stained glass, statuary and carved wood and statuary in marble, bronze and mosaic. The art of the main building was created mostly by DaPrato Studios of Chicago, with an international array of artists and architectural designers.
The miraculous crucifix’s connection to Medjugorje visionaries.
That there is a “miraculous” crucifix on the grounds of Queen of Heaven cemetery gained noteriety starting around 1990.
The story is told about Joe Reinholtz, a retired railroad worker from neighboring Westchester, Illinois, who had lost his sight in the early 1980’s. Reinholtz, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune published in July 1991 (see – https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1991-07-24-9103220302-story.html), claimed to have been directed to the 15-foot-tall crucifix by one of the Medjugorje visionaries when he visited the Catholic pilgrimage site in Bosnia on two occasions in the late 1980’s.
After being directed by the Medjugorje visionary to pray before the crucifix in Queen of Heaven, Reinholtz (who died in 1996) and others reported that the figure of Christ on the cross bled. When more visitors reported that they too had seen the crucifix bleed, the cemetery staff investigated. They reported that they found nothing out of the ordinary at the crucifix site.
Cures and signs.
At the same time that the crucifix was seen to bleed, Joe Reinholtz was healed of his blindness. He also reported having seen the Blessed Virgin Mary who appeared at the crucifix site, accompanied by angels, including St. Michael the Archangel.
More of these many kinds of appearances continued to take place in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These were accompanied by other miraculous signs, many defying ready explanations. For example, some claimed the beads of ordinary rosaries had turned to gold after they prayed with them at the site.
Despite an incident of vandalism in 1994 where the feet of Jesus were broken off, inexplicable occurrences continued to be reported regularly at the crucifix into the mid1990s when they slacked off.
Into the first quarter of the 21st century, people still slowly drive past the crucifix, while others are found at the foot of the crucifix sometimes alone, or with family or friend, or in larger groups. Many look to be praying at the “miraculous” crucifix, some certainly looking for a healing miracle like Joe Reinholtz experienced there in 1986.
Chicagoan Richard Hunt has over 150 large-scale installations around the world. Since 2005, Richard Hunt’s We Will has stood proudly on the sidewalk by the intersection of Randolph Street and Garland Court near Chicago’s Cultural Center and Millennium Park. We Will stands 35 feet tall and is made of welded stainless steel. The public art is a sculpture of scale that is impressive on its downtown Chicago streets.
“I Will” is the long-time mantra of Chicago. Its roots trace to the Great Fire of 1871, and the dogged resiliency of its citizens to rebuild, to reinvent, and to grow to new heights. The sculpture evokes the licks of flame from that devastating event in the 19th century from which the city built back bigger, better, faster, and stronger – and whose title We Will indicates that Chicagoans in the 21st century continue this tradition of resilience and resolve by looking to do so together.
We Will was commissioned by the Mesa Development Company, the developers of a condominium and mixed-use building in Chicago. Hunt has his artwork installed for viewing across the city of Chicago including, in 2021, his Light of Truth Monument to Ida B. Wells in Bronzeville, Jacob’s Ladder in the Carter Woodson Regional Library, Farmer’s Dream at the MCA, and Flightforms at Midway Airport, among others.
“There are a range of possibilities for art on public buildings or in public places. To commemorate, to inspire. I think art can enliven and set certain standards for what is going on in and around it.” – Richard Hunt, sculptor.
Among these celebrated works by Richard Hunt is included the first artwork commissioned for the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. Titled Book Bird, Hunt’s sculpture will be placed outdoors in the Library Reading Garden of the new Chicago Public Library branch at the Obama Presidential Center campus. The former 44th U.S. president in a Zoom call with the artist recently observed about Richard Hunt and his artwork: “[Hunt’s] personal story embodies what is hoped to be the experience at the center. To have one of the greatest artists Chicago ever produced and to participate in what we hope is an important cultural institution for the city and the South Side …it feels like a pretty good fit to me.”
Richard Hunt was born in 1935 in the Woodlawn neighborhood and lived at 63rd and Eberhart on the South Side of Chicago. His family moved to Englewood when Hunt was 4 years old. Hunt attended public schools and his family was very involved in visiting the city’s cultural institutions, particularly The Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum. Hunt received a B.A.E. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1957 and, afterwards, studied and traveled in Europe as well as served in the U.S. Army.
In the artist’s long career Hunt has received more than a dozen honorary degrees from leading educational institutions of higher learning across the country. He has also served at several prestigious universities as professor and artist in residence. Hunt made history when he became the first African-American artist to have a retrospective exhibition of his work at the Museum of Modern art (MoMA) in New York City.
“There are a range of possibilities for art on public buildings or in public places,“ Hunt said recently in the context of his Obama Center work, “To commemorate, to inspire. I think art can enliven and set certain standards for what is going on in and around it.”
FEATURE Image: Flamingo by Alexander Calder is a masterwork stabile in Chicago’s downtown. It was unveiled on October 25, 1974 in a dedication ceremony with the artist. It is one of Chicago’s iconic outdoor public artworks. 6/2022 7.73 mb
In downtown Chicago’s Federal Center Plaza on South Dearborn Street between Adams Street and Jackson Boulevard is Alexander Calder’s 53-foot-tall painted steel plate “stabile object” entitled Flamingo. The Chicago Federal Center was completed in 1974 with Calder’s artwork. The design project began in 1958 and included three International-style government buildings by modernist architect Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) within a public plaza design that was completed in 1974. Flamingo, commissioned after Mies’ death for $250,000 by the Government Services Administration, was unveiled on October 25, 1974 with the 76-year-old Calder present for its dedication ceremonies and festivities. With the commission Calder understood the significant impact of his artwork for the Federal Center Plaza in Chicago.
Calder’s prolific and impressive art career started in the early 1920s. Fifty years later, Flamingo (a.k.a., “the Calder”) in Chicago’s historic Federal Center Plaza is a later work, whose maquette Calder made before it was intended for Chicago.
During his artistic career’s many decades and years, Calder never stopped developing in his art. The 1974 steel sculpture painted red-orange is four stories tall and makes a powerful impact on the streetscape where it is an integral part. Along with Chicago’s Picasso in 1967 and Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate (“the Bean”) in 2004, Calder’s Flamingo in 1974 has taken its well-deserved place among Chicago’s most iconic outdoor public artworks.
From the inventor of the mobile, Calder turned later to the development of the stabile of which Flamingo is a masterwork. Starting in the mid1950s and into the 1970’s, Calder produced scores of stabiles in many shapes and sizes for display around the world.
“Most architects and city planners want to put my objects in front of trees or greenery. They make a huge error. My mobiles and stabiles ought to be placed in free spaces, like public squares, or in front of modern buildings, and that is true of all contemporary sculpture.” – Alexander Calder.
Titled Flamingo, the towering abstracted “Calder red” painted stabile object can evoke reactions to it that are unexpected. Calder’s stabile masterwork was unveiled in October 1974 which was the same year the Sears Tower (in the background) was completed and which was at that time the world’s tallest building (today it is ranked no. 26). From Federal Center Plaza, Chicago’s 20th century architectural history is readily on display in its downtown buildings in a range of shapes, sizes, textures and design styles.
Flamingo can be intimidating because of its monumental size. Actual flamingo shorebirds vary in size, but are usually no more than 3 to 5 feet tall, and weighing about 5 to 7 pounds. At 53 feet tall, Calder’s immense stabile in Chicago is about the size of a giant sauropod dinosaur which could weigh around 60 tons.
Alexander Calder trained and worked as a mechanical engineer before he became an artist. The graceful design and construction of Flamingo is expressed by nearly one-inch-thick steel plates buttressed by ribs and gussets joined overhead by lofty arches and resting on three legs as if it is nearly weightless. Even his largest stabiles (of which Flamingo is one) are made so they can be easily unbolted, and taken apart to be transported and assembled at the place of destination.
In Federal Center Plaza is a complex of three buildings of varying scales by Mies van der Rohe: the broad 30-floor Everett McKinley Dirksen Building at 219 S. Dearborn Street completed in 1964 (at right), the lean 45-floor John C. Kluczynski Building at 230 S. Dearborn Street completed in 1974 (not pictured), and the single-story U.S. Post Office building at 219 S. Clark Street (not pictured). Calder’s Flamingo sits on its three pillars like a lunar lander that reflects the arcaded bases of Mies van der Rohe’s buildings that surround it as well as provide a sweeping contrast of curves and bright stand-out color against the surrounding modernist buildings’ monochrome glass-and-steel grid appearance. Calder’s artwork achieved more than the sum of these parts – it transformed Mies’ overall somber architectural trio into a more dramatic and complex quartet that included Calder’s art. The 30-story Dirksen Building is across Dearborn Street.
Calder’s Flamingo after dark with the one-story Post Office illumined within behind it.
Calder’s stabile is one of the most monumental public art commissions in Chicago. Flamingo’s height and breadth (it fills a space of about 1440 square feet) achieves a largesse that does not forgo a human scale as it allows pedestrians to freely walk around, under and through it. The 45-story Kluczynski Building is at left.
Flamingo lighted at night in late November where there is already a snow pile on the sidewalk in Chicago’s Federal Center Plaza presaging the Chicago winter. In summer months there is a regular farmer’s market on the Federal Center Plaza. It is also the location for a variety of political gatherings year-round.The Kluczynski Building is behind.
In October 1974 Alexander Calder was in Chicago for a “Calder Festival” where two of his major works were being dedicated – Flamingo for Federal Center Plaza (depicted above with the Kluczynski Building) and Universe, a motorized mural for the Sears Tower. Reflecting the artist’s lifetime interest in circuses, Calder joined in the city’s circus-themed parade in his honor. In another major cultural event in Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art held a large retrospective exhibition of Calder’s art from October to December of 1974.
Looking from the Marquette Building south to Calder’s Flamingo in situ in Federal Center Plaza.
FEATURE IMAGE: East Bronze Door (upper panels) depicting Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary by Biagio Governali. Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii in Chicago’s Little Italy. 12/2013 4 mb
Our Lady of Pompeii was originally established in Chicago in 1911 as an Italian national parish. The present church building at 1224 West Lexington Street in Chicago’s westside University Village/Little Italy neighborhood was constructed in 1923 and dedicated to Mary, Queen of the Rosary in 1924. The parish began under the Scalabrinian Missionaries, a religious institute founded in Italy in 1887 to aid and serve the Italian immigrants to America.
In 1994 Joseph Cardinal Bernardin proclaimed Our Lady of Pompeii church a Shrine, dedicated to honor Mary, the Mother of God and Queen of the Holy Rosary. Ten years later practically to the day, Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I. dedicated the Shrine’s bronze doors. On that same October day in 2004, Bishop Carlo Liberati, Pontifical Delegate to the Shrine of The Blessed Virgin of The Holy Rosary in Pompeii, Italy, established “a most fervent and fraternal link of communion” between the shrine in Pompeii, Italy, and that of Our Lady of Pompeii in Chicago.
Inspired by the main gate (“Porta del Paradiso”) of the Baptistry of Florence made by Florentine goldsmith and sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455) between 1425 and 1452 and located in front of Florence’s cathedral, the bronze doors in Chicago were made by Biagio Governali, native of Corleone, Italy. The artist modeled each panel in wax which were then sent to Verona, Italy, to be cast in bronze and polished. These Veronese craftsmen came to Chicago on two occasions to mount and position the doors before they were dedicated and blessed by Cardinal George in 2004.
The West Bronze Door, dedicated in 2004, depicts the five Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii (1923), 1224 West Lexington Street in Chicago. Clockwise from top left, the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38), the Visitation (Luke 1:39-56), the Nativity of Jesus (Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 1:18-2:23), the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:22-40) and Christ among the Doctors (Finding in the Temple) (Luke 2:41-52). The shrine is the oldest continuous Italian-American Catholic Church in Chicago and is today a place to pray for peace that embraces pilgrims of all faiths.
1. The Annunciation (top, left)
“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” (Luke 1:26-27).
2. The Visitation (top, right)
“In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”‘ (Luke 1:39-42).
3. The Nativity of Jesus (center)
“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrolment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:1-7).
4. The Presentation in the Temple (bottom, left)
“And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord’) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”‘ (Luke 2:21-24).
5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple (bottom, right)
“Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it … After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.” (Luke 2:41-47).
Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries.
The exterior doors of the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii in Chicago visually narrate the twenty mysteries of the Rosary. These are the Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous mysteries. The faithful can use each door panel as a meditation to pray each decade of the Rosary.
In Europe, most of the complete works of art that have survived undamaged and unrestored from the Middle Ages and Renaissance to today are bronze doors, most of which are in Italy.
Even when the Shrine doors are closed, the sanctuary calls to all passersby to look, ponder, and personally experience the Gospel that these doors present in its fine artwork of the mysteries of the Rosary.
Central Bronze Door’s Artwork Explained –
1. The Agony in the Garden (top, left)
“Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here, while I go yonder and pray.’ And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.’ And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.’” (Matthew 26:36-39).
2. The Scourging at the Pillar (top, right)
“Pilate released Barabbas to them, but after he had Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified.” (Matthew 27:26).
3. The Crowning With Thorns (center, left)
“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the praetorium, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon him, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on his head, and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him they mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’” (Matthew 27:27-29).
4. The Carrying of the Cross (center, right)
“And they compelled a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull).” (Mark 15:21-22).
5. The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus with Mary and John (center)
“And when they came to the place which is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’ …It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last” (Luke 23:33-46).
1. The Resurrection of Jesus (center)
“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel; and as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”‘ (Luke 24:1-5).
2. The Ascension of Our Lord into Heaven (top, left)
“So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.” (Mark 16:19).
3. TheHoly Spirit comes upon Mary and the Apostles (top, right)
“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts of the Apostles 2:1-4).
4. TheAssumption of Mary into Heaven (bottom, left)
“Henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me.” (Luke 1:48-49).
5. TheCoronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven (bottom, right)
“And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” (Revelation12:1).
At the bottom of the Sorrowful Mysteries bronze door, the angels hold a tablet emblazoned with Latin text that contains statements on the rosary by two post-Vatican II modern popes. A translation of the text reveals the importance of the rosary to Pope Paul VI (1897-1978) and John Paul II (1920-2005), both canonized saints. Pope Paul VI: “Without contemplation, the Rosary is a body without a soul.” Pope John Paul II: “To meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary is to look into the face of Christ.”
Pope Saint John Paul II (1920-2005) established the Luminous Mysteries near the end of his almost 27-year pontificate in 2002. About the entire rosary itself the pope said, “To meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary is to look into the face of Christ.”
According to The Catholic Encyclopedia (“The Rosary,” Herbert Thurston and Andrew Shipman, volume 13, Robert Appleton Company), the structure of the rosary including its 15 mysteries (five each for Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious) had been officially unchanged for 500 years – from the 16th to 20th centuries.
In 2002, Pope John Paul II instituted the five Luminous Mysteries. In his Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, published on October 16, 2002, the pope marked out 4 broad areas as reasons to pray the rosary:
1. The rosary aids in contemplating Christ with Mary;
2. The rosary aids in contemplating the mysteries of Mary;
3. The rosary is a way of assimilating the mystery of “It is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20); and,
4. The rosary is a way of praying for, and arriving at, peace in one’s life, family, neighborhood, and in the world.
In the same letter (Chapter 3), the pope observed that icons and other religious visual images can assist the human imagination to meditate and contemplate upon the mysteries of the Christian faith, particularly those of the rosary. Appealing to the Church’s traditional spirituality as well as that of St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) in The Spiritual Exercises, the pope’s exhortation to artistic representations as aiding mental prayer imbues Chicago’s great bronze portals depicting the mysteries of the rosary with the authenticity of standing at the threshold between time and eternity and the sacred and profane.
The pope acknowledged that although all the rosary’s 20 mysteries can be termed “luminous” – that is, pertaining to mysteries of light – the five new Luminous mysteries fill the gap between the infancy and hidden life of Christ (i.e., Joyful) and Holy Week from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Day (i.e., Sorrowful and Glorious).
“And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.”‘ (Matthew 3:16-17).
2. The Wedding Feast of Cana (top, right)
“On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.”‘ (John 2:1-5).
5. The Institution of the Eucharist (center)
“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.”‘ (Matthew 26:26).
3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God (bottom, left)
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15).
4. The Transfiguration (bottom, right)
“And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light.” (Matthew 17:1-2).
Ruth Aizuss Migdal was born in Chicago. The artist was educated at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (B.F.A.) and the University of Illinois at Urbana (M.F.A). Migdal was awarded an honorary doctorate from U of I, her alma mater, in 2019. Classically educated and trained in painting and printmaking, initially she created abstract paintings. Migdal turned to sculpture where, in 1971, she began exploring the female figure.
Her towering sculptures begin as a maquette and, then, as a wax mold, they are each pieced together section by section. Today the artist continues her work in bronze and steel, creating large abstracted figurative sculptures that have been installed in popular locations throughout Chicago and around the United States.
Here is a 14-foot-tall public sculpture, painted a shining bright red, that depicts a dancing female figure on the runway and poised for flight. Standing in Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo next to the Chilean pink flamingos pond, Migdal’s sensuous, voluptuous, and muscular female dancer sculpture (and others like it) are constructed and deconstructed with multiple body parts. It exemplifies a spirit of joyfulness, independence, and perseverance. Further, the artwork is an expression of strength and a lust for life.
Here is one of the major examples of Migdal’s red dancing figures – another, entitled Whirling Dervish is in Chicago’s Douglas Park. La Diva III at 2650 N. Clark Street in Chicago was Migdal’s first monumental red painted sculpture installed in a public space. The photograph is from May 2015.
Here is installed in Lincoln Park Zoo. Founded in 1868, Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the most historic zoos in North America (fourth oldest) and one of the only free admission zoos in the country. It attracts over 3.6 million visitors annually.
As a kinetic (movement) artist, Mangold’s sculptures explore concepts of space and motion.
In 1962, Mangold began his Anemotive series of spherical, wind-propelled kinetic sculptures. As with this art installation in Rockford, Anemotive Kinetic, the anemotives are characterized by cup-like shapes mounted on arms which allow for motion in nature.