The Cathedral of the Incarnation

Nashville, TN

Modeled after the Basilica San Martino ai Monti in Rome, Nashville’s Italianate Cathedral of the Incarnation is richly decorated with coffered ceilings, bas relief sculptures, and murals. Since its dedication in 1914, the Cathedral had been modified in keeping with liturgical and stylistic trends. In recognition of its 100th anniversary, the Cathedral began phased restoration efforts in 2014.

The first step towards reviving the historic glory of the Cathedral of the Incarnation was the creation of a new altar by Rambucsh, and the preparation of an architecturally appropriate color palette by EverGreene informed by historic precedent. In coordination Compass Partners, Carter Group, and Liddle Brothers Contractors, EverGreene self-performed plaster consolidation; comprehensive refinishing of the painted surfaces of the cathedral including plaster ornament, stations of the cross, and faux painting the columns in the style of porphyry; conserved historic murals, and re-introduced lost artwork in the sanctuary.

In 2021 the tabernacle, which had been reserved in a Blessed Sacrament chapel since the 1980s was returned to the sanctuary. EverGreene was commissioned to transform the chapels. Newly dedicated to the Crucifixion and Annunciation, both chapels received trompe l’oeil ceiling panels harmonizing with ornament in the nave and feature symbols specific to their dedication.

The complementary themes of the chapels invite meditation on the radical surrender to the will of God and were created in memory of the parents of a donor. The Annunciation chapel (celebrating a joyful mystery) features a bas relief sculpture of the Annunciation designed, sculpted, and painted after Della Robbia in EverGreene’s Brooklyn Plaster Studio. The Crucifixion Chapel (celebrating a sorrowful mystery) features a custom patterned wallcovering by EverGreene and the Cathedral’s historic wooden Corpus. Taken together the themes of annunciation and crucifixion help parishioners and visitors to the Cathedral enter deeply into the incarnational reality.