Largest religious painting ever: The Crucifixion
At Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale California there is a largely unknown gem. The largest religious painting ever made – a staggering 195 feet long and 45 feet high. It’s so large it has it’s own auditorium style seating.
The story behind it is almost equally amazing. It was commissioned in 1894 and painted by Polish painter Jan Styka. To make the painting, he traveled to Jerusalem to prepare sketches and even had his palette blessed by Pope Leo XIII. The gigantic mural was unveiled in Warsaw in 1897, traveled many European cities, then joined the 1904 St Louis Exposition. It was seized when the partners failed to pay custom taxes and was considered lost for 40 years. It was found in 1944 rolled around a telephone pole and badly damaged in the basement of the Chicago Civic Opera Company. It was restored and then displayed in Forest Lawn by American businessman Hubert Eaton.
It’s hard to find detailed images of the massive painting, but the pieces I have seen are really astounding. Read more about it here.
Also check out some of Jan Styka’s other paintings such as St Peter preaching the gospel in the catacombs.