Client: Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church
Location: Potomac, MD, United States
Completion date: 2006
Artwork budget: $90,000
Sarah Hempel Irani
Canal Street Studios
Our Lady of Mercy commissioned Sarah to create the Virgin Annunciate and St. Joseph, the Carpenter for their new sanctuary. She had already sculpted the fourteen Stations of the Cross in bas-relief collaboratively with another sculptor for the parish. While the clay sculptures were articulated in her Maryland studio, the plaster casts were sent to marble carving studios to be copied, per Renaissance tradition. She subcontracted with a carver who had worked at the Washington National Cathedral for the sculpture of the Virgin Mary.
The goal for this work was to enhance the beauty of the sanctuary and honor the Mother of God.
I designed the sculpture first as a 20" model, or maquette, then enlarged the work in clay to full-scale. Then plaster casts were sent to a marble carving studio to be copied, per Renaissance tradition. Malcolm Harlow, who had worked at the Washington National Cathedral, carved the sculpture of the Virgin Mary.