Paintings adorn the church wall

Paintings adorn the church wall

Painted walls add an aesthetic element to the simple and serene interior of a church. In the medieval period all churches were either partially or completely painted from inside.

Beautiful paintings enrich the devotional atmosphere of churches, enhance the aesthetic beauty and are also used as teaching aids. Using these images to teach Bible, lives of the saints and different aspects of morality was a common practice in ancient times when printed material was not available.

Our Lady of Health Church in Shirva, near Udupi, which recently celebrated its centenary year is known for its architecture. The Gothic style building has beautiful paintings at the altar giving a contemporary look to it. These bright-coloured paintings that depict
devotionally inspiring subjects attract the attention of people. The building was
renovated recently and in the process the old paintings which were in Roman style were replaced by similar images, but with a new look.

This beautifully renovated church stands tall as the rarest proof of unification of faith. The renewed paintings at the altar of the church was done by artists Wilson D’Souza and Jeevan Salian. The blessed Virgin Mary features significantly on the wall paintings as in the depictions of the Coronation of the Virgin; the scene takes place in the heavenly court, with Mary being surrounded by the Holy Trinity, angels and saints. The solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord celebrates the angel Gabriel's appearance announcing that Mary has been chosen to be the Mother of Our Lord. The white lily in the angel's hand is symbolic of Mary's purity.

Many colours
The process of painting the walls is elaborate and laborious. On a particular day, all necessary materials are assembled in the church. The canvas gets the still impression of the sketch. Then the painting begins and continues uninterruptedly until the completion of the work. Each brushstroke becomes permanent immediately.

Large areas of flat colour cover the drawing, including the figures, the architectural details, and the background is normally built up in several thin layers. Next, the lines of the drawing, shadows and the light areas of colour are painted on top of the flat colours, giving these particular parts of the painting visual quality of solidity and opacity. The medium of an icon, be it a wall painting or a panel painting, is selected according to many criteria such as the surface to be painted, materials available and the skills of the painter.

It is important to protect works of art as they bring peace to the mind, pleasure to the eyes and enhance one's knowledge.

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