This Redemption Dome located inside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, is the 1st installment of a 3 part series of mosaic Domes. The artwork is based on the original 1958 design of John de Rosen and chronicles the trials and triumphs of Jesus Christ.
The first challenge of installing this mosaic was to design a scaffolding system that would allow artisans to proceed with installation every day for several months, while not interrupting the daily Mass-goers or their views of the altars. This custom scaffold allowed Rugo Stone to carefully remove the old gypsum plaster ceiling so that the existing Gustovino clay tile substrate was perfectly clean and ready to receive a new portland cement plaster ceiling. Rugo’s team members placed a new portland cement plaster ceiling to match the exact curvature of the original gypsum ceiling. Once the Portland cement ceiling was dry, the mosaic installation could start, and the mosaic installed.
The dome itself is an extraordinary representation of the Redemption of Jesus Christ. The mosaic consists of 12-foot figures and over 800,000 glass tesserae tiles. Over 100 colors of tesserae, as well as gold leaf tiles, were used to complete the dome, which measures 86 feet in length.
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a staple of divine beauty in the United States of America. The mosaic work at the Redemption Dome in the National Shrine is a beautifully designed and crafted addition to the church. We are proud to have been allowed to rise to the challenge of performing such incredible work.