St. Joseph Church of Nashville

12th and Church Street
Nashville, Tennessee

Project Status
Church was torn down; date unknown.

Project Date/s

In 1934, John Mallin decorated St Joseph Church in Nashville, Tennessee for the Reverend A.F. Maurath. Letters to and from Rev. Maurath describe some of the work done. One letter from Rev. Maurath praises the Madonna painting in the church, while another discusses decoration changes, as well as negotiations about the total cost. The Reverend mentions the decorations in the side altars, and in the back of the statues of the Blessed Virgin and St Joseph. He mentions how he would like to have the circle extend similarly to the way it was done at Holy Rosary Church in Chicago, which was also decorated by Mallin.

Mallin’s brochure for St. Joseph includes a photo of the mural in the sanctuary, which was called, “The Holy Family Enthroned”. The description of the mural states, “The large representation of the figures are placed in outdoor settings with the Infant Christ as the center figure. The Christ Child has his hands raised in Benediction with his mother standing on his right and the foster father on his left. Grouped about the throne are singers and musicians: ‘The Angels Serenade’.”

An article in the Tennessean newspaper in December of 1934, also describes the decorations which were finished that Fall for the 48th anniversary of the church. According to the article, the Holy Family mural was executed in Mallin’s studio, and the finishing touches done after it was place inside the dome in the Fall. The color scheme on the walls and ceiling were done in ivory and gold, and the walls were stippled with four colors, having an ivory tone. The statuary had gold trim, and the side altars had a background of gold brocade, with a mosaic effect.

The article also describes the saints on the side walls, which included, “Peter, Paul, John, and James, with the foster father, St. Joseph, holding the Christ child on the right arm with the symbolic lily in his left hand. Three large allegorical paintings are grouped about the Blessed Sacrament, the dove and the lamb. In the large representation of the Holy Family, the artist has placed the figures in an outdoor setting, with the infant Christ as the central figure. The Christ child has his hand raised in benediction with his mother standing on his right, and the foster father on his left. Grouped around the throne are singers and musicians. The scene in the large painting is designated by the artist as ‘The Angels’ Serenade.’ The background is the blue sky with a cross near the horizon.”

A photo showing the Sanctuary in the process of decoration, with Mallin, the Rev. Maurath, and workers, is displayed here and in the slide show above.

St. Joseph's Nashville


“St. Joseph’s has 48th anniversary”. The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee. Page 6. Dec 23, 1934.