" It is possible to be awestruck by the exotic splendor of this meticulously restored sanctuary."

Edward Rothstein, New York Times




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Paint Techniques

1894, revised 1918, restored 1986-2007
Original and restoration paints and glazes on plaster

The sanctuary was painted using a variety of techniques, all achieving maximum benefit at minimum cost. The shell-topped niches, windows covered with fine fabric curtains and golden medallions that adorn either side of the ark are painted in a technique called trompe l’oiel, French for “trick the eye,” used to mimic the appearance of something three-dimensional. Faux finishes were used to make walls and columns look like marble. Stencils were employed to trace folk braiding, stars, scrolls and the details of a coffered ceiling across plain plaster walls, arches and domes. Artisans then painted in the patterns by hand, occasionally ignoring the plan and contributing touches of their own. The overall effect is both grand and touchingly personal.

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