Thursday, June 19, 2014

Il Timone salutes Matthew Alderman

Journalist Marco Respinti, a Senior Fellow of the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal, has written a warm article on our architecture contributor Matthew Alderman, appearing June 19 on the web site of the Italian journal of apologetics and culture Il Timone. Here it is, in my translation: 

Who says that beautiful sacred art is all in the past? 
Here is the talent of Matthew Alderman

Matthew Alderman is a sacred artist designing and working today, in our world, with a profound and beautiful taste that really seems to belong to another age. That is how he effectively shows the importance of the via pulchritudinis, the "way of beauty" that approaches God, knowing Him and loving Him, by means of the road that the reflection of His splendor, full of meaning, traces among the things of the world and in history, impelling man the artist to imitation.

With Alderman we then come to understand another important thing: that the category of the beautiful and the good -- that is, of the beautiful, full of meaning, that rises to God, is not just a peculiarity of a specific artistic or architectonic style, nor of a unique time in history, inevitably in the past. Artistic beauty is possible, as Alderman shows, hic et nunc, even today, by means of styles that unite -- with grace and taste, proportion and intelligence -- both tradition and innovation, both the individual talent and the history of art in its sumptuous complexity. That is, it is possible to be traditional while living in the modern age, and not just by slavishly reproducing antique styles. Beauty, like truth, is indeed a tradition: it passes through the age unchanging, to change the age itself by remaining always the same, even when it assumes new expressive forms whose legitimacy is given precisely by that unbreakable "umbilical cord" connecting it with what is permanent, and therefore -- in its essential and basic theological meaning -- not negotiable. 
Matthew Alderman, an American, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, is an illustrator specializing in sacred art, ecclesiastical architecture, and liturgical furnishings. He writes for various Catholic publications, specialist and non-, such as Sacred Architecture, First Things, Antiphon: A Journal of Liturgical Renewal, and The Living Church, the periodical of the similarly named Catholic-friendly Anglican organization. 
His graphic and artistic works are included in collections everywhere, from California to Singapore, from Spain to Australia. 
In 2010 Alderman created 15 full-page illustrations for the important revised edition of the Roman Missal published by Liturgy Training Publications of Chicago. In 2011 he completed another 50 illustrations for the Sunday and daily hand-missals published in the United Kingdom by HarperCollins. And in 2013 he collaborated with the major American Catholic publisher FAITH Catholic (which issues 29 diocesan publications), celebrating its tenth year of activity by means of images and illustrations, often in the form of a triptych of "how it used to be". 
Besides sacred images, Alderman produces heraldic coats of arms, blazons, seals, and standards for schools, dioceses, ecclesiastical and private persons, and sometimes also sets his hand to "secular" artistic subjects. In this capacity, in 2013 he designed the new coat of arms of the Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, the only Pontifical College not based in Rome. 
A few examples of the beauty and profundity of Alderman's art can be admired at this link, but all the sections in which the American artist's web site is articulated are full of images, studies, and realized works of great power and fascination.

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