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Watch a new religious art installation rise in Capitol Park

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Have you ever tried to move a heavy, awkward object? That was the case yesterday in Capitol Park, as a large sculpture was placed above the doorway of the Detroit Savings Bank on State St. It was quite the scene and we have the pictures to show you how it found its place.

The building itself is one we’ve covered in the past, 1212 Griswold. This entrance around the corner on State Street is one used exclusively by the Archdiocese of Detroit. They provided us with some background and pictures on the placement of this sculpture.

The artist and primary sculptor of the piece is a local Ukranian man, Sergei Mitrofanov, who worked with Michael Kapetan, a fellow sculptor and colleague who did the conceptual drawings and managed production. The piece was commissioned by Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron for placement in the archdiocese’s new chancery. The Archbishop played an active role in determining the Biblical imagery in the sculpture. The sculpture took more than five months to sculpt out of clay. After a mold was made from that, the final piece—now on the building—is approximately 175 lbs. of fiberglass reinforced epoxy. Its base is approximately 12 feet wide.

This is a depiction of Jesus as a child along with his mother, St. Mary (to his left/your right) and St. Anne (wearing the head dress). The significance is that St. Anne is the patron saint of Detroit (and Detroit’s oldest church, Ste. Anne de Detroit, founded concurrently with the City of Detroit). The imagery in the work is symbolic of Michigan: apple blossoms make up the border and the Christ child is adorned with a trillium. Jesus stands in the center and is standing on a booklet open to the Scripture passage "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." The angels are meant to reflect the diversity of the city of Detroit. Most of the imagery was done to reflect a high-renaissance style, while the angel’s faces were intentionally made to be more contemporary. More on the religious side, the angels are holding wheat and grapes—symbolic of the Catholic Eucharist/communion. As yet, the artwork doesn’t have a formal title.

Here are few pictures showing the process of installing the piece, which took much of the day August 18.