This great room is four stories tall. According to a history of the museum:
Saint Louis University purchased the land at the corner of Grand and Lindell in 1867 with the intention of moving the campus away from the noise and dirt of industrial St. Louis. Plans were drawn for the "Grand Building," today's DuBourg Hall, though construction did not begin until 1886. The Pere Marquette Gallery was originally the university library and the great timber supports were once illuminated by sun streaming through an atrium that has long since been removed. The cast iron columns and spiral stairs supporting each level once held library stacks. Each level is now used as gallery space for the exhibition of Saint Louis University's collection of art with religious themes.
This still has books. I am normally a bookworm, but didn't have time to look at what volumes were stored here.
The history continues:
Entering from the second floor of DuBourg Hall, a visitor to the Pere Marquette Gallery will find many works brought to St. Louis by the Reverend Pierre Jean De Smet, S.J., in 1845. These Old Master and devotional works were the legacy of the destruction and disruption of the Napoleonic wars, collected from abandoned and war-torn places. The mother of a De Smet classmate, the Baroness Elizabeth De Ghyseghan, and her friends gathered paintings and books to support the efforts of the Belgian Jesuits in St. Louis. These works are found here, at the Historic Samuel Cupples House and in the Collection of the Western Jesuit Missions at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art. Altogether these works constituted the first art collection of St. Louis and were originally all found installed on the walls of DuBourg Hall.
Religious images speak to the heart in the Christian tradition. The third and fourth levels of the Pere Marquette Gallery illustrate expressions of Christian devotion from three very distinct cultures: Retablos, oil painting on tin from colonial Mexico, Greek and Russian Orthodox icons from the 16th and 17th centuries, and Santos images from the Philippine Islands.
Spiral stairs lead upwards. Note the gold fleurs-de-lis on the rich blue carpeting, which reflects the royal French history of this region.
A view of the ceiling.
Stained glass window in the center shows Christ Pantocrator and Saint Francis Xavier; flanking windows show the Evangelists.
Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist, with his symbol the eagle.
On the left, Jacques Marquette, S.J., who was an early explorer of this region, and who has an open cause for beatification; on the right, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini.
Some of the Jesuit universities in the United States.
The gallery includes works by anonymous Santos carvers from the Philippines, including the following:
Saint Francis of Assisi.
Saint Isidore the Farmer.
Another Philippines Santos statue can be seen here.
Santiago de Compostella is from colonial Mexico.
This gallery was once a library, and some of the stained glass windows portray the history of writing:
Other windows portray scrolls and the printing press, and this one shows a manuscript codex.
And this one shows a computer. And on the computer screen reads:
“DESIGNED BY RODNEY WINFIELD
AN EMIL FREI ASSOCIATE 1995”
Painting of the Holy Family, by an unknown artist, ca. 1800.
Detail of a painting of Saint Francis of Assisi, by Ludovico Cardi da Cigoli, ca. 1613.
Stained glass window of Teilhard de Chardin???????? His New Age writings are condemned by the Church, and he was deeply involved in the racist Piltdown Man hoax. He remained, however, a loyal priest of the Church and the Society of Jesus.
Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, who lived in the nearby towns of Florissant and Saint Charles; click here for photos of her convent.
Gerard Manley Hopkins, English poet, Catholic convert, and Jesuit Priest.
The gallery is in DuBourg Hall, seen here. The gallery is open on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.