THE TASCA FAMILY. Fausto Bellino Tasca was the first child of Angelo Tasca (1848 - 1939) and Luigia Battagin (1857 - 1922). He was born in the family home on June 24, 1885 in the northern Italian village of San Zenone degli Ezzelini (Treviso).
Fausto showed his passion for art at an early age. Family members recount that he drew as often as he could, using only pencil and paper. It is also said that as a youth Fausto hid under his bed at night so that he could draw undisturbed. Unfortunately, because of the extreme poverty of the area, Fausto's passion for art was viewed as a luxury that the Tasca family could not afford to nurture.
SAN ZENONE DEGLI EZZELINI. San Zenone is a quiet village in the northern Italian province of Treviso. This photograph of the hills surrounding San Zenone was taken in the early 1900's. It shows the vista one would see from near the Tasca family home. Fausto Tasca was an accomplished photographer, so it is very possible that he took this photograph before his departure from San Zenone.
The photo shows the hill which dominates the countryside, and its well–known chapel called "Madonna del Monte." The square "Tower of the Ezzelini" can be seen slightly below the church and to its right.
THE TASCA FAMILY. This family portrait was taken on October 12, 1908 at or near the Tasca family residence in San Zenone degli Ezzelini. Angelo and Luigia Tasca are shown surrounded by their five children. Standing (from left to right) are Luigi, Antonio and Elisabetta. Erminia is seated to the left of her father; Fausto is seated at the far right.
It was clear from an early age, that Fausto Tasca intended to dedicate his life to the visual arts. According to family members, he hid under his bed at night so that he could draw undisturbed.
As a teenager, his artistic gifts came to the attention of a local gentleman. This gentleman encouraged Fausto's talent, and provided a stipend, so that he could study art formally. Fausto attended a "Special School of Design" in the nearby town of Bassano del Grappa. There he worked diligently, and earned a Bronze and a Silver Medal for the excellence of his work.
After two year's study in Bassano, Fausto's benefactor sponsored further studies at the prestigious Royal Institute of Fine Arts in Venice. At the conclusion of his first year of studies, the Academy's Jury awarded Fausto Second Prize for excellence. The award must have been a great triumph for a poor youth from the rural outskirts of Venice.
At some point during his studies, Fausto made the acquaintance of two sisters, Paolina and Angelina Melchiori. The young women were the two eldest children of Prudenza and Giuseppe Melchiori of Crespano del Grappa. The Melchiori's are very well–known and highly respected family in the region. The elder sister, Paolina, was an aspiring singer. At some point, Fausto and Paolina agreed to marry, and together they emigrated to the United States.
SCHOOL OF DESIGN, BASSANO DEL GRAPPA. This diploma was awarded at the end of the scholastic year 1902–1903. It states that Fausto Tasca earned a Bronze Medal for his achievements that year.
THE ROYAL INSTITUTE OF FINE ARTS IN VENICE. The Royal Institute of Fine Arts is now known as the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. This diploma states that the academy's jury selected Fausto Tasca to receive the second place award and medal for the scholastic session ending in July 1903.
According to his son, Fausto worked tirelessly to promote his talents. While living in Santa Barbara, Fausto created scenic backdrops for parades or plays. He donated his paintings for the annual city celebration, "La Fiesta."
He also received several important commissions during these years. One of the most important was the commission to paint the Mission Santa Barbara. The City of Santa Barbara presented his painted to the King and Queen of Belgium as a remembrance of their tour of California.
SANTA BARBARA MISSION. The City of Santa Barbara commissioned Fausto Tasca to paint a landscape featuring the Santa Barbara Mission. The painting was presented to the King and Queen of Belgium during a state visit. It is believed that the painting remains on display in Belgium.
DINING ROOM, MONTECITO. Fausto Tasca was commissioned to decorate the dining room of a mansion in Montecito. These two black and white photographs, also taken by Tasca, give us an indication of the elaborate nature of the decorative scheme. One watercolor sketch for the room decoration exists, but there are no other records of the project.
The project was executed in the early 1920's. The exact address of the mansion is not known.
AUTOCHROME ON GLASS. Fausto Tasca painted this mural for "La Fiesta," a city–wide celebration held annually in Santa Barbara. The mural was probably intended to be used as a banner for the Fiesta's parade, and as such was probably considered "disposable decoration."
Tasca documented this piece work using an early form of color photography, called an "autochrome."
This painting is now lost.
Our Lady of the Rosary
The Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rosary stands at the intersection of State and Date Streets in San Diego's vibrant Little Italy.
In the last century, when Italian immigrants came to the area, they wanted a church to provide a place for worship. They also wanted to knit the community together by making the church a symbol of pride in their heritage. The immigrants, many of whom were fishermen, pooled their monies together to have the church built. "The Church of the Fishermen" was, and is to this day, staffed by Barnabite priests from Italy.
The priests and the community wanted to recall the beauty of the art from their native land, so they located Fausto Tasca to design all the interior paintings, windows and sculpture for the church. Tasca, who was trained in Italy, was very familiar with Italianate styles of decoration.
Our Lady of the Rosary was a massive project which monopolized several years of Fausto Tasca's career. Because of the scope of the project, he called upon his friend, Carlo Romanelli, to assist in providing the altar sculptures of the Blessed Virgin and Saint Joseph. Tasca applied the paint to these sculptures.
In addition to two huge murals, the "Crucifixion" and the "Last Judgement," Tasca created numerous other paintings depicting scenes from the "Mysteries of the Rosary." He also designed the stained–glass windows for the church.
ALTAR AND CRUCIFIXION MURAL. Photograph of the main altar and nave decoration, including the huge "Crucifixion" mural. This photo shows the church interior shortly after Fausto Tasca completed his extensive project. His careful design of every detail of the altar can be seen in this image.
Original photograph by Fitch Photography of San Diego.
NAVE. This image shows the detailed decoration of the church interior as Fausto Tasca envisioned it. The ceiling medallions were painted in Tasca's Los Angeles studio on canvas panels. He transported the paintings by train to San Diego, where he installed them individually on the ceiling.
Original photograph by Fitch Photography, San Diego.
OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY. Fausto Tasca's interpretation of Our Lady of the Rosary was created to hang near the altar at Our Lady of the Rosary Church.
CONCEPT SKETCH. Fausto Tasca created this watercolor sketch to present his concept for the stained–glass windows. Tasca had the stained–glass windows created to his specifications. After they were installed in the church, he hand–painted the faces and all other details into each window.
PAINTING THE WINDOWS. Fausto Tasca painted the faces and all other details onto the stained–glass windows. This publicity photo, taken by a local newspaper photographer, shows Tasca at work on the windows.
PAINTING THE MURALS. Fausto Tasca created all the ceiling medallions and both huge murals at his Los Angeles studio. All these paintings were executed in oil on canvas. Once the paintings were complete and had dried sufficiently to be transported, Fausto hand–carried the canvases to Our Lady of the Rosary in San Diego.
Fausto's son recounted that the family did not have the means to own an automobile. When it was necessary to transport a sketch or drawing to the church, Fausto rode the train. He rolled the large canvases and carried them as his "hand baggage."