Monday, August 13, 2012

Other Modern: Murals in St. Anne's Anglican Church, Toronto

Students of art, and particularly Canadian students of art, will likely be familiar with the group of Canadian artists known simply as the Group of Seven.

The Group of Seven were a group of 20th century Canadian artists who became particularly well known for their paintings of Canadian scenes, in particular those inspired by the Canadian natural landscape.

Red Maple, 1914, A.Y. Jackson

Algoma Country, Lawren Harris

What the group was not known for was figurative religious art, and yet at St. Anne's Anglican Church in Toronto we find some rare examples of just that and I think it certainly qualifies for our Other Modern series.

Here is what the parish website has to say about the murals:

The most impressive feature of the church is the series of mural paintings that decorate the dome and chancel. These works, considered integral components of the architectural character of the Church, were executed in 1923 by ten Toronto artists, including three members of the Group of Seven – J.E.H. MacDonald, F.H. Varley and Frank Carmichael. . Indeed, the church murals are the Group’s only know religious artworks. Reverend Skey was a patron of the arts and frequented the Toronto Arts and Letters Club. Among his friends, he counted J.E.H. MacDonald whom he commissioned to do the church’s decoration in the spring of 1923.

First, here are the works by the members of the Group of Seven:

The Adoration of the Magi, Franklin Carmichael

The Transfiguration, J.E.H. MacDonald

The Crucifixion, J.E.H. MacDonald
(see larger version)

Do also take a look at The Nativity by F.H. Varley.

Here are some of the additional works outside of those executed by members of the Group of Seven.

For a general view of the church, see here and here.

Finally, separate from our considerations and certainly worth showing for reason of its beauty is a detail of the ceiling:

Photo credits: St. Anne's Anglican Church

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