Often carved by hand from a block of marble perhaps from Carrara, Italy, an altar has been described as a “piece of furniture” relating to formal public worship, normally with a symbol of God or religious figures or scenes such as the Last Supper carved by hand and carefully stenciled in three-dimensional relief into what could have originally been one large block of solid marble.
Carrara, Italy is the most famous and oldest center in the world for the quarrying and workmanship of marble. Carrara marble was used by Michelangelo!
A beautiful altar is a masterpiece and is a work of art and love and worthy to be the focus of any sacred space whether it be in a church, center, or even in a home. Some marble altars are lighter weight so that they can be transported easily when group meditations are held in various locations.
There are companies that provide the special consultation, design, engineering and fabrication of these marble “furnishings.” They frequently request a sketch, drawing, or photographs along with dimensions of what is requested as the item and the cost of manufacturing varies to such a great degree. They can only have a limited number of samples to show of those that have already been created. A quotation is then prepared and sent to the customer.
Something as unique as an altar will need to be customized with different types and colors of marble, the size desired, and the artwork that may already be determined or which could be suggested by the company.
An example is the transformative renovation of the church sanctuary at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Virginia. Anchored by the addition of new religious marble furnishings including an altar, tabernacle pedestal, ambo and font, a new sanctuary platform was created with American black walnut risers and treads. Walnut was also used to construct the backdrop screen.
O’Brien & Keane is a full-service Virginia architecture firm with over 20 years of experience working in the field of traditional Catholic church architecture for major new facilities as well as church renovations. The talented and professional individuals are dedicated to the creation of designs that make a definitive statement and reflect the timeless heritage of traditional church architecture both exterior and interior with the application of the latest building technology and science. They deliver solutions that are durable, practical, and express the customers’ dreams and prayer experience desires. Their artisans have been producing marble sculptures and items since 1897.