Detail from "The Zion Altarpiece" [in progress]. Edward Riojas. 2017.
Copyright © Edward Riojas. No images shown may be reproduced for any reason.
For a change of pace, I decided to allow a little sneak peek into a project on which I have been working. The project probably began years ago, but work intensified this past year when the cabinet components for a "small" altarpiece took shape. This winter was spent painting its panels. Even though there is still much to do on the piece, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The altarpiece is being created for the chapel of Zion Lutheran Church in Wausau, Wisconsin. For being such a compact piece, there is much more to it than first meets the eye. It has four doors. Each door has a painting on either side, and each door hides an image behind it. In all, there are 11 panels. Those panels contain approximately 65 figures.
There are four general scenes contained in the altarpiece, and each is revealed in turn during specific days of the church year. For most of the year, the crucifixion of Christ is visible. On Palm Sunday, the outer doors are opened to reveal Christ's entry into Jerusalem and Christ washing the disciples' feet. On Easter, the central doors are opened, hiding the crucifixion and revealing the Resurrection of Christ and a view of the heavenly host in worship.