Friday, April 2, 2010

Details of Dickeyville

Irridescent gazing ball amid rock-covered structures with a statue of Jesus in the background
One of the major reasons for my Wisconsin road trip was to finally see the Dickeyville Grotto. Created between 1920 and 1930 by the parish priest in Dickeyville (near the Iowa border, about 15 minutes from Dubuque), the grotto is said to have inspired the Wegners to build the Glass Grotto in Cataract.

It covers a much smaller area than the Rudolph Grotto, which was built around the same time, but I have to say the Dickeyville Grotto is more heavily decorated. (Of course, none of the Wisconsin grottos can compare with the size and complexity of the Grotto of the Redemption, located in West Bend, Iowa. Photos of that one to come later.)

I hope to post again with more pictures about the messages conveyed by the Dickeyville Grotto, but for today I wanted to focus on its decorative elements.

Colorful stones embedded
Everywhere you look, there is colored glass or stones embedded in the concrete structures.

Colorful stones embedded

Colorful stones embedded

Colorful stones and seashells embedded
Sea shells, too, of course.

Curving garlands with stone flowers
These stone garlands surround the secondary shrine.

White wooden ecclesiastical panels with stones, glass and plates attached
This panel work -- with inset stones, glass and plates -- is below the main statue in the secondary shrine.

The word Fortitude with the Holy Spirit shown as a bird above it, at the top of a tree made of green stones or glass
I really liked this tree detail on the back of the primary shrine. It's probably because it reminds me of the graphics from In the Heart of the Beast's May Day festival -- not a similarity the creator of the Dickeyville Grotto would appreciate, I imagine.


Ms Sparrow said...

It's really impressive how painstakingly the pieces were sorted and arranged. It surely was a work of love.

elena said...

Thanks for these images – look forward to your next post on this!