Archbishop explains decision to remove Llort mosaics

In his weekly press conference on Sunday, San Salvador archbishop José Escobar Alas, answered questions about the removal of the mosaic by artist Fernando Llort from the facade of the Metropolitan cathedral. Monseñor Escobar Alas stated that the cathedral was in the midst of a project to paint and clean all the exterior and interior surfaces of the cathedral. When it came time to clean the mosaic, pieces were falling off. Many pieces had been discolored and damaged by the sun and the rain. Pieces of tile which had been damaged or discolored by the weather could not simply be replaced, because the new pieces would not match the existing ones. The archbishop said that following an analysis by the engineering and architectural firm working with the church, which concluded the restoring the mosaic was not possible, the decision was made to remove it.

In his remarks, the archbishop went out of his way to commend the Ferndo Llort and his family for their dedication to Salvadoran society as well as the Catholic church. Although he stated that Fernando Llort was consulted with respect to the restoration project, the archbishop apologized for the pain caused by not giving the artist advance warning that the mosaic would be removed. The church would like Llort, if he will agree, to create a replica of the mosaic on an interior wall of the cathedral.

You can listen to an audio recording of Monseñor Escobar Alas' press conference here.

Fernando Llort is scheduled to give a press conference on Tuesday to discuss his views on the destruction of the mosaic.


Louis said…
You don't destroy something like this unexpectedly, and then claim the issue had been studied by experts, etc. The mosaic was unrepairable after only 14 years! Not believable.

What is the ulterior motive? Sad to say, but this reminds me of the Taliban destroying the ancient Buddha statues.
Rip said…
The explanation seems very reasonable, but I've been in El Salvador for a little over a week and I have to tell you that most Salvadorans with whom I've spoken don't buy the archbishop's story.
Kelsey said…
I'll be waiting to hear the response from Llort!
Win Grace said…
I am so grateful I got to see the original beautiful mural on my first visit to El Salvador in March 2011. I can't imagine this cathedral without it! How sad to destroy something so meaningful to the people of this country! I'm sure Archbishop Romero would have loved this mural of the people he so loved!
Well, the government has finished destroying the Peace Accords. I guess the church figured that they didn't need a monument to them anymore.