Artist restores artwork on ceiling at Louisiana State Capitol

(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Stroke by delicate stroke, an artist is completing the daunting task of restoring the intricate designs of the ceiling over one of the most powerful meeting places in Louisiana.

George Stuart may be the most famous artist people have never heard of. His latest work is neither original nor even a 'George Stuart.' People might say Stuart answers to a higher calling, even if he has to get on his knees to do it.

"Truth is, I'd be an excellent forger," Stuart joked.

The calling Stuart is forging is an Art Deco piece that hangs high above the House of Representatives at the Louisiana State Capitol. It was damaged by a leaky roof. He is restoring the piece by freehand from a shaky scaffold.

"What I try to do, as an artist, is to figure out what the original intent of the original artist is. And then, I go back and I try to recreate their work," Stuart explained.

Two artist apprentices actually painted the section of the ceiling in the last restoration back in 1998.

"One painter was more skillful than the other and I know both hands," Stuart added.

Not only can Stuart can mimic both, he was also one of the master artists on the job 17 years ago. While this is no Sistine Chapel, there's a reverence in each of Stuart's brush strokes for the task and the artists before him.

"Do I commune with Michelangelo? No. Michelangelo and I would be friends. And if he were alive today, we'd be competitors. And that's the truth," Stuart said.

It is the crowning achievement of a lifetime of trying to remain invisible.

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