A Must See: Ave Maria University Annunciation Sculpture

A couple of months after the unveiling, members of AboveWater Public Relations staff members are still seeing media clippings from all over the world as people discover the incredible sculpture of The Virgin Mary on the face of the Ave Maria Oratory at Ave Maria University(AMU). We are honored to have had the chance to work with members of the Ave Maria University Arts Foundation and Nick and Jane Healy to make the event happen for 2,000+ people. On March 25, 2011, AMU officials and talented student musicians unveiled what sculptor Márton Váró calls the greatest project of his life: one of the largest bas-reliefs in the world of The Virgin Mary. Carved in marble, Váró’s sculpture of the Annunciation stands 35 feet high and has a width of 31 feet. It weighs more than 54 tons and crowns the facade above the front doors of the campus Oratory.

“The Oratory has always inspired students, residents and visitors in Ave Maria, but now with the addition of Márton’s signature piece, it is truly breathtaking,” said Thomas S. Monaghan, Chancellor and Founder of the AMU campus 20 miles east of Naples, Florida.

“Ave Maria” is derived from the Archangel Gabriel’s visit to Mary announcing with her consent that she would be the mother of Jesus. The Feast of The Annunciation date is celebrated at the university every year, but this year was especially significant for everyone who attended. There was a moment of silence as the curtain gently fell away to reveal Mr. Varo’s painstaking work of the past three years and the voice of AMU Chorus Soprano Vanessa Tompkins filled the piazza. It was an emotional moment, but no more than the daily reactions of the hundreds of people who arrive at AMU Visitor’s Center for a tour and are overwhelmed by this amazing work of art.

The statuary is made from 19 blocks of Carrara marble derived from the Italian city for which it’s named. Widely regarded as the finest material in the world a sculptor can work with, it has been used since the time of Ancient Rome. Later, during the Renaissance, renowned artists used it to carve famous works of art. Michelangelo’s Pieta and David were carved from Carrara marble.

Váró is already a recognized artist internationally whose artistic influence stems from the Greek style of art prominent in the mid-fifth century B.C. He claims inspiration from the sculptures associated with the name of Phidias, the architect of the Parthenon and has said that the Ave Maria project is the most momentous of his life.

You must see it. Go there. http://www.avemaria.edu/visit/
Sculpture unveiling at Ave Maria Oratory