A Medieval Mural painted by Master and Apprentices for the Nuova Porziuncola
This soaring mural makes use of the decorative elements from the school of Giotto in the 13th century early gothic style church, Basilica di Santa Chiara in Assisi, Italy.
In keeping with the Medieval guild system by which apprentices learned their craft by working under a master before setting up on their own, a volunteer group of 6 MFA students from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, signed on to work under the direction of Master Muralist Angela Tirrell.
Dr. Elisa Stephens, President of the Academy of Art University of San Francisco generously sponsored the mural.
The mural group researched the rich decorative elements framing fresco cycles of St. Francis’ life and created a digital elevation of the mural wall. Next, paper templates were made of intricate banding and gold leaf samples were made of elements such as the sun symbolizing Saint Francis, the moon symbolizing Santa Chiara and the 33 stars symbolizing the age of Christ at his crucifixion. The paper templates were affixed to the mural wall in the order the viewer now sees, and having finalized the scale of all elements the students created durable cloth templates and transferred the hundreds of geometric shapes, then proceeding with the meticulous hand painting and leafing.
Countless hours were given to painting in meditative silence and a strong bond grew between the mural artists. The creation of this mysterious, hallowed mural is in homage to the passionate and also gentle man, friend to all, Saint Francis of Assisi.
Angela Tirrell -Master Muralist September 2008
Jorge Lavorerio –Mural Photographer (www.jorgelavorerio.com)
Ahmad Manar Laham