This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Collegiate Statues (part 2 of 3)

In part 1 of Collegiate Statues, we looked at some of the sculpture in the grotto area of Saint Joseph's College. For me the most impressive artwork in the area consists of the fourteen stations of the cross, done in bas-relief. It seems that the originals were high fired terra cotta, but when the grotto was refurbished starting in 2003, they were redone in bronze. The restorer was Giorgio Gikas of Venus Bronze Works.

Because the complete set of stations in the grotto are not pictured anywhere else on the Internet that I know of, I decided to include the complete set here. Now you do not have to get out of the car and walk. You can see it all sitting in the comfort of your home or office. 1. Jesus is condemned to death
2. Jesus receives the cross
3. Jesus falls the first time
The stations of the cross (or the way of the cross) is a popular Catholic devotion that is given most attention during the season of Lent. Its purpose is to allow a person to make a pilgrimage, in spirit, to the Holy Land and the chief scenes of the passion and death of Jesus Christ.
4. Jesus meets His Mother
5. Simon of Cyrene carries the cross

6. Veronica wipes Jesus' face with her veil
7. Jesus falls the second time
Before the renovation of the 21st century, the walks in the grotto area were made of paving bricks. I really liked them, not because they were easy to walk on (they were not), but because they gave the area a certain feel. With renovation the brick walkways were replaced with cement sidewalks. The old paving bricks were kept and now edge the sidewalks. It is a nice gesture, but it is not the same.

Almost all Catholic churches have the stations of the cross on the walls, with seven on one side of the church and seven on the other. In the grotto area, after the seventh station, you reach the grotto. Then you loop around and make your way back to the start.
8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
9. Jesus falls the third time
You might have noticed that under each of the stations there is a plaque with the title of the station and then in small letters the name of a donor. The grotto area is full of donor plaques. If you would like to give some money to Saint Joseph's College, you can probably get your name on a plaque, though not on one of stations plaques.
10. Jesus is stripped of His garments
11. The crucifixion
Not visible in these pictures are the little lights above each station. At night they are lighted. I am rarely out at SJC at night, so I have never seen what it looks like then. I guess that is a future adventure.
12. Jesus dies on the cross
13. Jesus' body is removed from the cross
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb
There are now 14 stations, but that seems to be a relatively recent standard. Five hundred years ago there was much variation in the number and the titles of the stations. And there are still people tinkering with the arrangement, replacing some of the standard stations with other incidents they think are more important.

The last part of this series of three is here.

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