SPOTLIGHT By Sharman Andersen
Photo: Michael Piazza
You may be familiar with the Glavin Family Chapel on campus and its two walls of beautiful stained glass. But you may not know the walls were fabricated by Babson alumna Maria Serpentino ’78, P’05, and her husband, Roberto Rosa, of their family-owned business, Serpentino Stained Glass Studio.
The studio fabricates new windows and restores old ones for places such as libraries, town halls, theaters, colleges, and, of course, houses of worship. A successful conservation project saves as much of the original as possible, which is difficult when dealing with artwork that has been exposed to the elements. Few firms do the work that her company does, says Serpentino. “We often collaborate with preservationists and historians.”
One notable project involved duplicating a historic Charles J. Connick stained-glass window for a University of Tennessee, Knoxville sorority. Because the sorority was not given permission to move the original into their new house, the studio made an exact replica using photographs and architectural measurements.
So far, Serpentino’s favorite project was restoring 13 opalescent stained-glass windows created in the late 1800s by American artist John La Farge. Among them, the window depicting St. John the Evangelist (shown here) proved the most difficult. “Besides conserving and retaining more than 85 percent of the lead matrix and repairing the cracked glass, the biggest challenge was St. John’s painted face,” says Serpentino. “Our stained-glass painter, Matthew Fallon, restored life to a part of the face that had completely deteriorated.”
But the best part of the La Farge project, says Serpentino, “was that the clients appreciated the artistry of the glass and the importance of its historical value.” All 13 windows are in Salve Regina University’s new Our Lady of Mercy Chapel, which was designed specifically with the windows in mind.