Carefully easing a 500-pound block of carved Carrara marble into place atop 14 other panels, stonemasons completed installing the bas-relief sculpture of the Annunciation on the front of the Ave Maria Oratory Friday.
A team of 10 workers, including stonemasons, engineers and a crane operator, worked for more than a month to mount the 70-ton sculpture, which, at 30 feet high and 35 feet wide, is one of the largest sculpted images of the Annunciation in the world.
Sculptor Márton Váró, who anxiously watched the entire installation process, now has several months of work ahead of him to complete some of the carving and ensure the panels fit together seamlessly. The creation will be officially unveiled and dedicated at Ave Maria on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation.
He smiled broadly Friday afternoon as one of the masons gave the “thumbs-up” sign that the sculpture was finally complete. He then hopped in a lift to inspect the work with James Blair, whose crew from Titan Stone of Ft. Lauderdale did the installation work.
Mr. Váró has been working on the sculpture for almost two years, doing most of his work in public on the Ave Maria University campus mall where the plume of white marble dust emanating from the carving was a familiar site to students, faculty and town residents.