Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Exhibition of Drawings of Church Altars from the Late 19th Century in St Vincent Archabbey, Pennsylvania

Co curator Jordan Hainsey wrote the following in connection with the exhibition at St Vincent Benedictine abbey in Pennsylvania of drawings by Br Cosmas Wolf OSB who was a monk at the abbey in the latter half of the 19th century. His work is neo-gothic. Details of the abbey and exhibition, which runs from now through to February can be found at the exhibition website, here.

'After returning to Saint Vincent Archabbey (in Pennsylvania) from studying at the Royal Academy of Art in Munich, Archabbot Boniface Wimmer O.S.B., sent him to Covington, Kentucky, where he began the "Covington Altar Building Stock Company," which designed and furnished churches for the influx of german and irish who came to call America home. Serving as artistic vision, Br. Cosmas assembled a band of liturgical artists and artisans who worked in the neo-gothic style. One of Br. Cosmas' apprentices, Frank Duveneck (then 16), would become a famed American-impressionist painter. Together, Br. Cosmas and his group designed and created everything from altars and statues, to croziers and sacred vessels. This exhibition brings together 45 framed drawings and carvings from the hand of Br. Cosmas, including his last artistic triumph, the "Adoration of the Magi" altarpiece. Several completed works are juxtaposed with their preliminary sketches. We also worked with Fr. Robert Keffer O.C.S.O., an artisan monk, who completed restored a baptismal font to it's original splendor. Visitors to the Gallery receive a complimentary 100-page catalog that explores Br. Cosmas and his intrinsic role in the liturgical arts. The exhibition's primary goal is to awaken in visitors the meaning, importance, and sacredness of traditional liturgical art.'

Captions refer to photographs below:

Altar: Completed by Br. Cosmas Wolf in 1894, this high altar was located in a Chapel on the Archabbey's retreat grounds. The altar was paired with the "Adoration of the Magi" altarpiece and statues of "Sts. Benedict and Boniface" to recreate the original altar-statue-grouping, rescued from a fire in 1963. This reassembled altar will be installed in a chapel at the Arch

Pulpit Drawing: This is a drawing of a neo-gothic pulpit by Br. Cosmas Wolf, ca. 1857-1862.

Adoration of the Magi Altar Drawing: Drawn by Br. Cosmas between 1890-92, this drawing would serve as the preliminary sketch for the altarpiece-grouping that exists today.

Quincy Altar Drawing: This design was for the high altar at Saint Boniface Church in Quincy, Illionois, ca. 1863-64. Though executed, the altar was later lost to a devastating fire.

Exhibition Expanse: This photo shows an expansive view of the Saint Vincent Gallery's exhibition space.

High Mass Candlestick/Drawing: Completed in 1883, this to-scale drawing of a high mass altar candlestick, would serve as a blueprint in making the existing, carved/gilded candlestickabbey after the exhibition

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