"Christ, the King", a mural by Sr. Mary Thomasita Fessler, OSF, is located in the second floor Reading Room of Memorial Library.
The words, TU DICUS QUIA REX SUM EGO, "Thou sayest I am a King," which are seen on the large side panels, carry the theme for this particular mural.
The central figure represents Christ the King. In His right hand, He holds the universe in which is inscribed the symbolic Alpha and Omega. Thus Christ is truly the beginning and end of all things. In the design of the garments is a further indication of Christ's Kingship, the words EGO SUM QUI SUM, "I Am Who I Am." Continuity of lines crossing over and through the figure would indicate an atmosphere of transparency, a cloud-like buoyancy of the Kingdom of Heaven. Inasmuch as the lines signify an attitude of motion they express a figure of power.
The left panel shows the various phases of Christ's Kingship over the life of the Church and the individual lives of its members. The first section denotes Christ granting His powers of authority to Peter as head of the Church. The second section portrays the condition on which man may enter His Kingdom, "Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven." The third section shows Christ's command of and power over the elements by the miracle of the loaves and the fishes. The last section denotes the merciful Christ in the manner of the Good Shepherd.
The right panel is a continuation of the theme of Christ's Kingship. The first section portrays Christ with His disciples at Emmaus. His love will be manifested until the end of time by His bodily presence in the Blessed Sacrament, for as He promised "I am with you all days even until the end of the world." The second section shows Christ extending His jurisdiction to the disciples and making them "fishers of me" by delegating His powers to them. Thus His Kingdom is truly established on earth and governed by His power as manifested in ecclesiastical authority. The last section portrays Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, symbolic of our own final entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven to the "place He has prepared for us."
The two murals, "Christ the King" and "Mary, Queen," are made from over one thousand individually cut pieces of precious wood. These woods are cut in geometric and ameboid shapes and placed in mosaic-like fashion forming positive and negative areas. Each piece was cut separately from an original template of the large cartoon and range in size from a quarter of an inch to about six inches in the larger panels. This mosaic-like construction made necessary the individual beveling of each piece of wood. The nature-colored hard woods, coming from various parts of the world, are listed below. Each piece of wood was evaluated carefully for color and grain in order to bring out the desired result in symbol as well as design.
|Amaranth (Purple heart)||British Guiana|
|White Holly||United States|
|Prima Vera||Central America|
|East India Rosewood||India|
Each of the two murals, "Christ, the King" and "Mary, the Queen," is sixteen feet long and three feet wide, with a four foot high panel in the center.
Both murals were commissioned by Marquette University and installed in September 1955.