|For two years, the sight of Márton Váró at work was almost as familiar to residents of Ave Maria as the town’s well-known oratory, on whose façade Mr. Varo’s marble sculpture of The Annunciation now rests.
Now, with the sculpture in place, Mr. Varo is back at his home in Irvine, California, beginning new projects at his studio on the campus of the Irvine branch of the University of California.
There will be a period of readjustment, Mr. Váró told The Ave Herald before leaving for the west coast.
“I have devoted my whole life for the last three years to the project,” he said, adding, “This project probably has been the happiest time of my career.
Mr. Varo worked seven days a week, carving the 70-ton, 35-foot-high sculpture entirely by himself, first working on individual blocks on the Ave Maria University Mall and then on a lift after the delicate task of mounting the sculpture over the oratory’s entrance was completed. “I couldn’t wait to start work each day,” he said. Right, Mr. Váró holds the first chip from the first block of marble he began carving, which became the face of Mary.
He hopes to return to Ave Maria in the future, where he said he made many friends and received “strong spiritual support from the whole community” as well as outstanding technical support from professionals like AMU’s construction director, Skip Doyle, whom Mr. Varo called a “technical magician.”
“Skip’s technical resourcefulness came through when some major engineering firms proved not to be up to the task of mounting the sculpture on the oratory,” Mr. Varo said.
Before leaving, Mr. Varo completed 1:5 scale models of the archangels Michael and Raphael which would flank The Annunciation on the sides of the oratory if donors underwrite the cost. Right, the models of the angels and, far right, a digital rendering of what they might look like when mounted on the oratory.
At age 68, however, he said, “I have little time left to pull together other projects.”
The first of those projects, he said, likely will be a set of marble cubes similar in style to those he carved for the campus of Texas Christian University. (below)
As for what else the future holds, he said he’s ever optimistic.
“My whole life philosophy is to be really positive. You have to be positive when you’re facing a big block of stone from which you will pull out something.”