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The Fine Arts, St. Liborius

The most stunning aspect of the interior of St. Liborius are the massive painted lunettes above the arcades of the nave and transepts.

While most of the paintings were shrouded in darkness, I could pick out a couple of scenes at the beginning and end.

At the presumed beginning was the Nativity of Christ, and on the opposite place on the wall across the nave was the Resurrection, so I am going to guess that the rest of the paintings focus on the life of Christ.

I have no idea what the scene of a young Christ handing a cross to his parents is all about.

The stained glass is likewise beautiful, though some of the best pieces by Tiffany were sold decades ago and replaced with clear glass.

The high altar, described to me as originally being incredibly ornate and constructed of white marble, has been decimated. I don’t know exactly when or why, but the high altar was stripped of most of its marble. What remains gives you a bit of a clue about how it once appeared.

The transept altars didn’t fare much better, as this one attests, completely stripped of its marble veneer.

15 Comments

  1. How wonderful to see these photos of my parish home. I attended grade school in the 50s and spent many hours in that beautiful church. It is sad to see how it has fared. Thanks for sharing….

  2. As for the high altar, I know that some of the marble statues ended up at the new Most Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Eureka, MO, while others went to the Calvary Cemetery Mausoleum. I also believe some furnishings made their way to Most Holy Trinity.

    • I’ve heard that as well about the church in Eureka; it was closed the day I went out to see the sculpture. Didn’t know about the Calvary Mausoleum or Holy Trinity links.

      • You’re right; I confirmed from old pictures that there is at least one sculpture group at the Calvary Mausoleum.

  3. A friend of mine now owns the St. Liborius Church and is planning renovate it and turn it into a community arts center. I have a great deal of art history background so he asked me to do some further research into the paintings in hopes to sell and put the money back into renovations. I just started the search and came across this blog post. Thought maybe someone would have a little bit more information on who might have done the fresco lunette paintings? Also you mentioned the stained glass might have been Tiffany glass, is that true and where did you find your information?

    • Stephanie,

      I don’t think those paintings would be worth much for sale. I think the best thing to do would be to leave them there, as I don’t know of any feasible way of getting them down safely. I’ve been to a lot of art museums in the world, and paintings that were removed from their original locations always look terrible, as they end up getting heavily damaged in the process. You can read about the painter, an anonymous German-American art professor here:

      http://www.dnr.mo.gov/shpo/nps-nr/79003637.pdf

      If you have any questions, and would like to talk to me about the paintings, I would be happy to to talk with you and your friend. I have over ten years experience in art museums and curatorial departments, and I can explain in person why I think the paintings should stay in place. They’re worth far more in St. Liborius than if they were taken down and sold, for what I would estimate to be a paltry amount of money.

      • Chris,
        Sorry it took me some time to reply. Thank you so much for your response. You are just the right person we needed to get in touch with!! I am so happy I cam across this post!!
        My friend, David Blum, and I will be in touch soon. Is this the preferred way to reach you? If you can shoot me your email/contact info via email that would be great! Here is my email/cell# – elise780@gmail.com 314.775.4822
        Thanks,
        Stephanie

  4. Stephanie, I was raised in that parish, we moved in 1964. My niece now lives in the UK, will be visiting St. Louis for a family reunion the middle of August, 2013. She would loved to see the inside of the church as I am sure other members of our family would. Any chance you could help us arrange a look/see? Please?

    Margie Novak Price

    • Margie, I attended St. Liborius School and Church in 1963-1964. I think you and your brother John were their at the same time. There used to be some wall paintings on the walls of the basement.

      • I think the wall paintings are gone, judging from my visit to the basement.

        • That’s to bad. The Catholic Church in St. Louis should be ashamed of the way this church and others in St. Louis have been treated.

    • I don’t see why not. The current owners are planning to turn the church into a non-profit community arts center. It will be a few years before that plan actualizes, but considering the nature of their endeavor, I feel that type of request would be appropriate. I will pass along the request and get you in touch with the right people for sure. Shoot me your contact info to elise780@gmail.com

      Stephanie

  5. Chris,

    Sorry it took me some time to reply. Thank you so much for your response. You are just the right person we needed to get in touch with!! I am so happy I cam across this post!!

    My friend, David Blum, and I will be in touch soon. Is this the preferred way to reach you? If you can shoot me your email/contact info via email that would be great! Here is my email/cell# – elise780@gmail.com 314.775.4822

    Thanks,
    Stephanie

  6. To turn Saint Liborius Church into a recreation center is in itself an obscene act of vandalism.

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