R N A I S S A N C E
                  ART, RESTORATION & ARCHITECTURE, LLC

There is no real future without preserving our history and our culture. ~ Dan Tarnoveanu
Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church
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Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church
La Jolla, CA:

Exterior mosaic

Situated above the main entrance of the church, the mosaic mural is a replica of a true fresco mural, entitled "Our Lady, Star of the Sea," painted by a very well known San Diego artist: Alfred Ramos Martinez. In 1962,  this mosaic replaced the much deteriorated mural.  It was executed in 1962 in Italy and is composed of several smaller sections that were assembled and mounted on the main entrance wall, also in 1962.  The mosaic mural was executed with vitrified glass mosaics (tesserae).  The mural panel, including the tesserae, is 1-1/2 inches thick and the total square footage of the mosaic mural is approximately 140 sq. ft.  The original tesserae were identified to be made by the Orsoni Mosaici factory from Venice, Italy.  The Orsoni family has been making mosaics since 1883 and is still producing and selling what is considered the best vitrified glass mosaics in the world.

Over the years, the mosaic mural has suffered deterioration from the elements and from inappropriate repairs conducted in the past. These repairs were executed mainly with Portland cement-based mortars. Overtime, these repairs caused serious damages to the mosaic mural panel.  Portland cement mortar being much harder than the original setting mortar, during expansion and contraction of the infills (cement repairs), due to variations in temperature, the tesserae cracked and/or literally disintegrated. The most visible areas were the tesserae were missing were filled-in and painted over with paint – which was an attempt to imitate the color of the missing tesserae. Over time, the paint fell, thus leaving blotches of unsightly exposed gray cement. In several areas - especially the previously repaired ones - efflorescence and calcifications were also present.

The scope of this project was to provide an accurate and quality mosaic conservation to bring the mosaic mural back to its original splendor, and to assure its integrity and durability over time. 
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