Public Invited to Expert’s Presentation on the Mural’s Restoration, History, Significance and Symbolism
In its most high profile initiative to date, Corpus Christi Church has commissioned renowned art conservator Roman Kujawa to restore its iconic mural above the church altar. This exquisite artwork, which is a signature element of the church interior, is a rendering of a Vatican masterpiece by celebrated, Renaissance painter Raphael Santi.
Since its installation in the 1920′s, this awe-inspiring mural has sustained significant damage from roof leaks, age and interim repairs which proved to do more harm than good. Henry Swiatek is a life-long parishioner at Corpus Christi, and has been a passionate advocate for the Disputà’s restoration for the last 10 years. As owner of Swiatek Studios, he is widely respected for his expertise in church renovation, decorative painting, and stained glass restoration.
When asked why this particular mural is of such importance, he cites Pope John Paul II, who referred to Rafael’s painting, titled “The Disputation of the Blessed Sacrament” (or more commonly known as the Disputà) as the second greatest religious painting of all time, second only to the Sistine Chapel, for its representation of the “Summa Theologica” of the Catholic faith. Swiatek goes on to explain that the Disputà rendering at Corpus Christi represents the highest calibre of ecclesiastical art for its epic subject matter, noting, “If the Disputà were a novel, it would be War and Peace for the breadth of story it tells.” In addition, the mural was painted by Marion Rzeznik, in collaboration with Gonippo Raggi, both of whom were considered premier, 20th century artists of ecclesiastical paintings.