Downtown cathedral stands out and pulls visitors in

Larry leads us to visual lyricism


Caroline Schroeder

Austin McKinley and friends look at the intricate details of the mosaic ceiling. Each aspect of the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica left Mrs. MCcune’s AP Art History students amazed.

Caroline Schroeder, Staff Reporter

Mrs. Mccune guided her three AP Art History classes to the bus awaiting our arrival to take us to the Cathedral Basilica in downtown St. Louis. After forty minutes of driving toward the city, the bus pulled up to the grey church: more majestic than the average church, and much more extravagant than any building surrounding it.

Surrounding the Cathedral Basilica are trees whose vibrant yellow and orange leaves contrast beautifully with the otherwise overpoweringly dark cathedral. Inspired by 19th and 20th century Romanesque architecture, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis is designed in order to be part of the revival of the Romanesque era.

Taking the first steps up to the stairs wrapping around the Basilica, my initial reaction was shock. The city surrounding the Cathedral basilica made its unique exterior all the more impressive. As I walked through the wooden front door, exceeding at least ten feet, my eyes followed the rhythmic pattern of the interior mosaic composition to the most astounding feature of the entire building: the ceiling. Each individual flake of tessera lining the ceiling left me speechless.

As the rest of the class followed into the cathedral, our assigned tour guide, Larry, began yelling in order to quiet the classes in the most ironic way possible. Summoning the group into the central area of the Cathedral Basilica, Larry continued to indignantly address each unique aspect of the cathedral including the 60-foot high ceilings, and the balcony seats lining the walls (much like those featured in Lincoln’s assassination).

Following Larry through the cathedral, each unusual feature of the mosaic ceiling–from the thousands of dollars worth of gold flakes implanted into it, to the intricate representations of biblical characters–caught my eye.

Everything about the cathedral was impressive, but my all-time favorite feature was the intricacy of the ceiling in the first entrance of the building. It seems impossible for a man to have placed each piece of mosaic in a specific spot to create something so beautiful. I would definitely recommend visiting the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica; it is worth the trip downtown, and regardless of Larry’s aggressive personality, the amount of knowledge one can potentially attain is far more valuable than the possible negative effects of Larry’s attacks.