Monday, August 08, 2011

Illustrating the Revised Roman Missal

Late last year, I was approached by Liturgy Training Publications in Chicago regarding commissioning a series of fourteen images of Scriptural events and other liturgical illustrations for their upcoming edition of the Revised Roman Missal. I had been asked to submit a study for the missal cover along with a number of other artists, and apparently my work had caught the firm's eye. (They eventually selected a very talented in-house artist to do the cover, a handsome interpretation of a number of early Christian motifs, but the die had been cast.) The number was expanded to fifteen early in the process, and I prepared for a very busy and exciting spring at my studio.

I worked very closely with the publishing firm's liturgical and artistic consultants, drawing on a collection of scriptural prompts and suggestions for each image and also contributing my own insights where appropriate. It was a challenging and rewarding project, and the feedback and suggestions from Liturgy Training Publications helped me grow a bit in terms of my artistic style. I am very proud of the work I have produced for this project. To the best of my knowledge, this is the only edition being published with a fully new set of illustrations specially commissioned for the work.

The images were finally completed in late June of this year, and the missal is currently at the printers. There will be both ritual and chapel editions available for purchase. You can get a very good sneak peak at many of them through the missal publication's website. A full-size sample of one of my pieces can be seen here, and the typeface and layout here. The cover can be seen here. You will note the style we selected for the work is elegantly simple and, while possessing a universal appeal, still conscious of the historical realities of first-century Judea. This was a conscious choice on our part that I think will contribute considerably in the images serving as aids to contemplation and prayer.

On a more self-serving note, our readers will be pleased to hear that under the terms of my contract, I am permitted to sell the original hand-drafted images to interested collectors or institutions. As neither the publisher nor I will be making prints of these images presently, such a piece of art would be quite unique, and I would certainly welcome inquiries via email about available subjects and pricing.

Correction: It has been brought to my attention that Liturgical Press is also undertaking an edition of the missal with specially-commissioned art, by Br. Martin Erspamer. My apologies for any confusion this oversight may have caused.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: