Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Other Modern: Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Bilthoven, The Netherlands

It has been awhile since we've dipped in "the other modern" and I wanted to share with you some of the interesting artwork of a parish church in Bilthoven, the Netherlands -- near Utrecht -- Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

As noted by the Church Art Property Foundation in the Netherlands, the artwork of this church was primarily undertaken under the direction of Father Herman Hoffman Dijck (pastor from 1928 to 1947) who established contacts with the Instituut voor Kerkelijke Kunst Sint Bonifacius in Amsterdam to this end. That institute was founded in 1931 and, like many which came within the context of the Liturgical Movement, sought to move away from the catalogue and more sentimentalist art of the 19th and early 20th centuries, while also engaging modernity.

That context aside, what I first and primarily wished to share with our readers are these murals in the Lady Chapel of Bilthoven, done by the artist François Mes.




Stunning work and to great effect in my estimation. They show a modernity which has clear linkages to our tradition in various regards. I believe they are very well suited to their intended sacred and liturgical purpose -- not to mention being very beautiful in their own right. (The painted brickwork also lends very nicely to the overall effect.)

Beyond Mes's work, there are other artistic features of this church that are also worth considering. Here is an example of the terracotta statuary of Adam Winter (who executed seventeen such statues for the church):


Here too is some of his work as seen on the pulpit in terracotta relief:


A reliquary by Ernst Voorhoeve:


Otto van Rees painted various biblical scenes to ornament the parish baptistery:



And finally, here is a sample of the Stations of the Cross as painted by Lambert Simon:


Photos: Stichting Kerkelijk Kunstbezit in Nederland, OLV Bilthoven