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July 2021 Newsletter

Guided tours have restarted weekdays at 1 p.m., Tuesday – Friday.

Please share the good news with your friends and family and out-of-town guests. Where else can you see world-class mosaics, frescoes, and sculptures all woven into a story that shares the Cathedral’s history and meaning? It’s a treasure we enjoy sharing.

Also, with the re-opening of the Cathedral, we would welcome additional volunteers to sit in the museum.

Contact [email protected] for more details.

A new museum exhibit coming soon: Whispers from the Heavens

A team of photographers armed with gigapixel digital cameras captured every inch of the Sistine Chapel’s artwork over the course of 67 consecutive nights.

Artistic and historic links between the Vaticanand the Cathedral of Saint Paul

Whispers from the Heavens will open in the early fall of 2021 under the direction of Cathedral Archivist Marilyn Burnett. The exhibit’s focal point will be up-close images of the masterpieces in the Sistine Chapel shared for the first time in a limited release trilogy of books published by Callaway in coordination with the Vatican Museum. 

The Cathedral received one of 600 sets available in English and 1,999 copies for the world. The work will never be reprinted. Callaway will donate a portion of the proceeds from sales back to the Vatican Museums for its ongoing conservation program. Cathedral Rector, Fr. John Ubel, received a set as a gift from a local benefactor.

A giant magnum opus

For the very first time, we can see the work of Michelangelo and his fellow Renaissance artists, as they would have seen their paintings on the ceiling of the chapel, rather than from the floor, sixty feet below. The giant, 24 x 17 inch, 822-page trilogy gives us an extreme close-up of the artists’ precise colors and textures down to individual brush strokes. Watch a video from the publisher, Callaway.

Whispers from the Heavens will explore additional connections between the Cathedral of Saint Paul and the Vatican. Emmanuel Masqueray’s disclosure that Michelangelo’s design of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome was an inspiration for his design of the Cathedral. Our Pieta, one of only eight exact replicas’ (within 1/8” of Michelangelo’s original) released by the Vatican Museum. Historical letters, blessings, and accolades from various Popes, official certifications from the Vatican, and the many clergy and Cardinals (some later Popes) who visited the Cathedral and who participated in the National Eucharistic Congress hosted by Archbishop Murray in 1958. Additional Vatican inspiration can be seen in the Cathedral frescos and paintings by Minnesota artist Mark Balma who received his fresco training in Italy. The fall exhibit will be on view in the Cathedral’s museum, located on the lower level. 

The Archives at the Cathedral of Saint Paul

The influence of long-time Archivist Celeste Raspanti Ph.D. is still felt through her advice and amazing memory and knowledge of the Cathedral and its history.  Celeste continues to advise the Archives, but the day-to-day operations are being directed by Marilyn Burnett. Marilyn has a Master’s in Art History and certificate in Museum Studies from the University of St. Thomas (UST). She has been working with the Archives in various roles since 2018. The work is currently focused on cataloging and creating a computerized database of items in the collection and capturing Celeste’s unique knowledge of its history. 

The CHF and the Archives were recently awarded a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant from the Minnesota Historical Society* which will allow the replacement of several storage units with archival long-term storage cabinets. Installation of the cabinets and rehousing the many blueprints and larger works will be an ongoing project. To aid in these projects, a fellow graduate of UST’s Masters in Art History and Museum Studies program, Jessy Saffell, has joined as a temporary assistant in the Archives. Jessy is helping with the cataloging and data entry of the collection as well as assisting with the curation of the new exhibit featuring the gifted books of the Sistine Chapel and links to the Cathedral.*This project was made possible in part by the people of Minnesota through a grant funded by an appropriation to the Minnesota Historical Society from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Any views, findings, opinions, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Historical Society, or the Minnesota Historic Resources Advisory Committee. 

Save the Date: Gopher Alumni Band Concert
6:30-8 p.m.
Thursday, August 5, 2021

The University of Minnesota Alumni Gopher Band will once again perform a free concert on the Cathedral’s front steps. Enjoy the music and one of the best skyline views of our capital city