April 25, 2023

Press Release

Washington’s Museum of the Bible Presents Epic Robert McCall Mural Installation 

WASHINGTON The grand mural “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” by renowned artist Robert McCall is now on display in Museum of the Bible’s ‘Bible in the World’ gallery. Commissioned by Linnea Hendrickson in honor of her husband, Ed, in 1990, the mural has finally completed its long journey to its new home. 

Recognized as NASA’s premier illustrator from the 1950s through the 1970s, McCall created a number of famous space-related art pieces during that time, marking his distinct tone and theme as an ‘era of innovation and the belief in forward progress.’ His works include a massive six-story-high mural in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., and stamps for the U.S. Postal Service that commemorate the space program. His distinct style is reflected in this significant art piece. 

“When his home church in Paradise Valley, Ariz., wanted to give Museum of the Bible a mural painted by him, we were honored to accept it,” shares Amy Van Dyke, lead curator of art and exhibitions. “The subject matter is a perfect fit for the museum; not only did it feature his love of space — with planets, stars and galaxies swirling — it also highlighted his faith.” 

In addition to the splendid space-themed atmosphere, the mural, titled “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” (Latin for Glory to God in the Highest), features a cross at the center atop a planet with a holy choir of three beneath. Its perspective places the viewer in the heavenly courts looking outward. 

While Museum of the Bible experienced extensive challenges in receiving this mural due to its enormous size and the preservation work required, the pandemic also significantly delayed its arrival and launch. In fact, its scheduled debut was placed on hold right as COVID-19 began to surge in 2020. It was only in February of this year that the impressive piece was finally unveiled for the public in the museum’s ‘Bible and Space’ exhibit. Included in the exhibition are videos about McCall and the mural, as well as a “Lunar Bible” that traveled to the surface of the moon and back on Apollo 14.

“We are excited to share with our guests this beautiful piece of American history by an artist who illustrated a future of biblical faith and progress,” Van Dyke continues. 

A celebratory dedication will take place April 27, where the museum will formally recognize everyone involved in the creation and presentation of the piece — Valley Presbyterian Church and the Hendrickson, DiGiuseppe and McCall families — to express gratitude for their contributions and aid in the display of this stunning work of art.