Church ripping Llort mural from facade of cathedral

File:Catedral de San Salvador.jpg

I can't believe it.  In a move that came in a surprise to most in El Salvador, the Catholic church in San Salvador is removing the famous tile mural of artist Fernando Llort from the facade of the Metropolitan Cathedral.   With little fanfare, the church is destroying an important national artistic treasure.

The destruction of the mural has been condemned by the Salvadoran government and by the family of Fernando Llort.   The family of Llort says the artist is deeply saddened, and that he had not been advised in advance nor given the opportunity to retire his most important artistic work in dignity.  The mural, completed in 1997, was an homage to the 1992 Peace Accords which ended El Salvador's civil war.

The Catholic church has stated that parishioners had been consulted and that they were in agreement with the decision.   Images of what will replace the Llort mural on the facade of the cathedral have not been released, but press reports indicate that it will be some sort of painting or sculpture of the Divine Savior of the World, patron of San Salvador.

On his website, Llort had this description of the work on the Cathderal:
The Catholich Church from El Salvador asked me to design the facade for the Cathedral.   This has been one of the most inspiring artistic moments of my life, because it meant to me that I was putting my art on a very important symbol of my country, with a huge historical value.   It was a work that took us (me and a group of artisans) around 1 year to finish.

The Facebook page of the Fernando Llort Foundation was filled with expressions of sadness and solidarity.  Another Facebook page, Indignados por El Mural, is rapidly filling with pictures and comments and anger at the blindness of the church to the meaning of this artwork.

These pictures show what the mural has been reduced to:


debobadams said…
It is indeed a sad day, not only for those of us who have visited but for the Salvadoran people who loved the art!
Tom said…
Oh my God, this is so sad.
alasleves said…
It's a political show: we have elections on March 12.
Eternity and temporality are of old ones.
The church claims to be eternal and managed to keep that idea in our minds for 2 millennia. The wisdom in keeping with the canons of sacred art is essential to preserving its eternity. An archbishop in the past left to see the church is as temporary as their hierarchies in art making a decision too temporary. Taking decisions mmaybe based in so temporary a criterion as donations, for example, instead of the artistic conscience of the people carefully formed by centuries in our catholic churches sacred art.
The Salvadoran people associated the cathedral with something as mundane and timely as a beach towel.
Rome has seen, that eternity was slipping out in Central America through the crack opened giving the mural of artist Llort in the center and root of Salvadoran identity. Now wisely rectifies.
In calmer political times, this correction would have gone unnoticed, and the majority attitude had been "finally removed it." No one would let go a cry.
But now the fate of the mural blocks would determine which party will wins most mayors and deputies.
More than the cathedral, the most honorable and appropriate place for the work of Mr. Llort is Market ExCuartel. The tenants ladies would feel honored, and the opinion of the people would agree that the market would gain in image and respect.
The winning party on March 12 will be the one to return to the church its eternity, and market their dignified temporary headquarters.
Speed the party that wants to win to collect the remains of the beautiful mural still redeemable, construct a monumental entrance to the market, and celebrate inauguration with pomp and circumstances for the smarter party's candidate, and maybe Mr. Llort., but that’s would depend on his religious political worldly tendencies.
Lillie Langtry said…
I wasn't familiar with the mural before, but from the photos it looks beautiful. Seems terrible that it is being removed - aside from the very important symbolism.
Kelsey said…
So sad!
ixa said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
ixa said…
Someone is going to be charged for this crime since the act broke the law of defacing art that has been deemed a Patrimonio Nacional on August 23 2011 by government secretary of the arts Astrid Bahamond Panamá.
Hay que poner rápido la denuncia para que al menos lo detengan... ¿porqué no llega la policía?
...miren la fecha que escogieron para destruirlo.
fjalarcon said…

for the mosaic mural created by Salvadoran artist Fernando Llort 14 years ago and destroyed by Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas at the end of December of 2011

by Francisco X. Alarcón

the Archbishop removed
the mural from the façade
of the Cathedral

with brutal swiftness
as the Taliban removed
the giant carved Buddha

and a Rockefeller
once removed a Rivera
mural in New York—

the mosaic mural
was too colorful, naïve,
just too folkloric

too indigenous
like the poor campesinos
of El Salvador

more apt for village
church than for a Capital City
Metropolitan Cathedral—

its title, “Harmony
of My People,” too common,
too political

it reminded people
of the bloody Civil War,
the Peace Accords

yes, the Theology
of Liberation, more Earth
than holy Heavens

too Salvadoran
like Monsignor Óscar
Arnulfo Romero—

the Archbishop now
wants angels and archangels
like there are in Rome

(mosaics lie on the floor
as trash, massacred like so
many disappeared)

© Francisco X. Alarcón
January 8, 2012
fjalarcon said…

para el mural de mosaicos creado por el artista salvadoreño Fernando Llort hace 14 años y destruido por el Arzobispo José Luis Escobar Alas a finales de diciembre de 2011

por Francisco X. Alarcón

el Arzobispo removió
el mural de la fachada
de la Catedral

con rapidez brutal
como el Talibán removió
el gigante Buda

y un Rockefeller
una vez removió un mural
de Rivera en Nueva York—

el mural de mosaicos
era muy colorido, naïve
demasiado folklórico

muy indígena
como los pobres campesinos
de El Salvador

más apto para iglesia rural
que catedral metropolitana
de ciudad capital

su título, “Armonía
de mi pueblo,” muy común,
muy político

recordaba a la gente
de la sangrienta Guerra Civil,
los Acuerdos de Paz

sí, la Teología
de la Liberación, más Tierra
que santos Cielos

demasiado salvadoreño
como Monseñor Óscar
Arnulfo Romero—

el Arzobispo ahora
quiere ángeles y arcángeles
como hay en Roma

(mosaicos yacen en el piso
como basura, masacrados
como tantos desaparecidos)

© Francisco X. Alarcón
8 de enero de 2012
Unknown said…
No one has a right to destroy a national treasure even if it is on your property. At least they could have consulted and at least be saved to be moved to another place. This is a crime.
proudsalva said…
I am a proud Salvadoran...never saw our church as mundane as a beach towel.