Loretto Chapel Staircase - Santa Fe, NM by Joy Skinner

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Loretto Chapel Staircase - Santa Fe, NM by 

Loretto Chapel Stairs is the 4th painting in a series called “Americana”

When the Loretto Chapel was completed in 1878, there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. Legend says that to find a solution to the seating problem, the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the elegant circular staircase was completed, and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters’ prayers. The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. Also, it is said that the staircase was built without nails – only wooden pegs. The construction is still a mystery to experts today.

The original painting is 22 × 30″ and painted on 140 lb Arches watercolor paper – available by contacting the artist. Giclee reproductions are available in several sizes.


  • Stephie Butler
    Stephie Butlerabout 5 years ago

    This is absolutely stunning Joy….Love the light you’ve captured in this….

  • Joy Skinner
    Joy Skinneralmost 5 years ago

    Thanks Stephie … the chapel is truly a remarkable building.

  • Pam Utton
    Pam Uttonalmost 5 years ago

    wow, such a difficult study, it is wonderful, great job Joy! : )

  • dove99
    dove99almost 5 years ago

    Absolutely beautiful! You might consider joining the New Mexico group. (o:

  • JennyArmitage
    JennyArmitagealmost 5 years ago

    I’ve always loved both the stair and the story that goes with it.

  • Impressionism
    Impressionismalmost 5 years ago

    beautiful painting so intricate and excellent description so well written!
    magnificent work Joy

  • Blended
    Blendedalmost 5 years ago

  • Valentina Henao
    Valentina Henaoalmost 5 years ago

    beautiful work!

  • Vitta
    Vittaalmost 5 years ago

    Excellent shot!

  • Hopebaby
    Hopebabyalmost 5 years ago


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