Our Lady of the Rocks

Dedication of Our Lady of the Rocks

This Sunday, Archbishop Hebda will preside at the 9:30 Mass. Following Mass there will be a procession to the new Our Lady of the Rocks painting for a brief dedication. This impressive piece of art is a wonderful addition to The Basilica permanent art collection and exemplifies our commitment to the arts in our community.


Our Lady of the Rocks

Our Lady of the Rocks
Tempera Grassa on Panel
71. 5”  x   71 “
Mark Balma 2022


From the Artist: Mark Balma

The painting is a work that I have contemplated for many years. It is painted on a gesso wood panel using an earth 15th century painting technique called tempera grassa using egg, oil/resin and dry white wine. ( Lacrime Christi) I learned this technique from the Italian Master Pietro Annigoni of Florence with whom I studied portraiture and fresco for several years.

The painting is inspired from the Song of Songs, “ My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely”

The painting incorporates traditional colors used by Leonardo Da Vinci. The Virgin’s blue mantle is actually genuine Lapis Lazuli from Florence. The setting of the painting comes from the rocky wooded landscape behind Assisi. Dave Laurent from the Basilica helped join and glue the panel and Fr. Bauer Blessed the white wine used in the grinding of the colors. 

It is certainly an honor to contribute a work to the Basilica, as my family have been members of the church since their immigration from Italy to Minneapolis in the 1950’s.


The painting was donated to The Basilica by Jack and Cathy Farrell




I am so overwhelmed by having this in the Basilica"s collection. Such a superb artist and, incredible subject. Would Mr. Balma give an oral presentation of his technique?


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