Yorkton citizens are aware that in their very own city exists
one of the finest paintings of its kind in North America. The
painting is in the dome of St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic
critics have likened it, particularly in its soft matching colors,
to the great religious paintings in Europe.
painting covers the entire dome and has a curvature of over 62
feet. In 1941 an Ottawa art critic estimated the value of the
painting at $35,000 or more.
is the work of the late Stephen Meush, who died of a heart attack
while on a fishing trip in Manitoba on June 21, 1951. Mr. Meush
received his training in Lviv, Ukraine, and after three years
of study in Italy he spent a year in Cracow, Poland, before coming
to Canada 1932.
was 36 years of age when he undertook the painting at St. Mary’s
Church in September 1939. The task, which included a number of
other paintings in the church, was completed in May 1941.
to most artists, Mr. Meush worked only when inspired. There were
days when he sat idly by with his thoughts, and then again he
would work day and night without stopping to eat.
top of the dome is 55 feet from the floor. The curvature required
that the central figures, and the 157 angels and cherubs surrounding
them, be painted in a distorted manner so that from floor level
they would appear to be on a flat plane.
was first necessary for the artist to visualize a central point
on the diameter of the base of the curve and working from this
point and a corresponding one on the floor, apply a series of
geometric angles and logarithms to make his charcoal sketches.
He spent two months making the projected drawings.
main colors are the orange, indigo and dull red, as seen by Meush
in Saskatchewan sunsets. Gallons of the best artists’ paints
were applied, together with Meush’s own inks, which he was
continuously seeking to improve. The paints penetrate to a depth
of one-eighth of an inch to avoid injury should flakings of plaster
fall away. The painting is further protected by many coats of
painting is an original and represents the coronation of the Virgin
Mary in heaven. The image stands out brightly and depicts God
as “the Ancient of Days” (Daniel 7:9) blessing Mary.
Jesus is depicted holding a crown over Mary’s head and the
Holy Spirit is portrayed in the shape of a flying dove.
the throne of God are 157 angels of different sizes. Below the
feet of Mary, there is a sky-blue streamer with a yellow inscription
bearing the words, “Hail, Virgin, Full of Grace, Queen of
Heaven, Holy, Holy, Holy, Alleluia!”. Below the streamer
there is an open book which reads: “Mary, Advocate, Protectress,
and Perpetual Help of Christians.”
the dome are eight-sized angels. These were done with a spray
gun and a pattern for each of the six colors. Other decorative
work was done in a similar fashion.
the painting is the focal point of interest to the visitor, St.
Mary’s Church contains other valuable paintings by outstanding
artists. Rev Metzger painted the four Evangelists, one in each
niche just beneath the dome.
work of Stephen Meush can also be seen in the Ukrainian churches
of St. Basil’s in Regina, SK, at Alvena, SK, Smuts, SK and
Arran, SK, and in Transcona, Man.