An Introduction to 'The Other Modern' (on LAJ)

Something which has not yet made its appearance here on LAJ is "the Other Modern." What is that you might ask? The Other Modern is a term which is applied to modern forms of art and architecture which, while contemporary on the one hand, are derived from the classical and traditional.  In short, it was work that was unabashedly "modern" but not rupturist. Rather than seeking to supplant and break the traditional lexicon, it instead approached it by organically and harmoniously developing within that traditional framework.

To help introduce this subject to LAJ readers, permit me to share a few images of the sort of thing that constitutes Other Modern. We begin with an example from the Basilica of St. Therese of Lisieux in Normandy, France:

Basilique Saint-Therese de Lisieux, Normandy, France
Basilique Saint-Therese de Lisieux, Normandy, France
From the parish church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Bilthoven, the Netherlands, we have this work which was undertaken under the direction of Father Herman Hoffman Dijck and executed by Fran├žois Mes:


In this same church we can find a good example of some Other Modern statuary. This is a terracotta statue that was executed by the artist, Adam Winter.


Still a bit more fresco work, this time from the Basilica della Santa Casa in Loreto, Italy. The fresco you see here was painted by the artist, Giuseppe Steffanina.


From Muurschildering, S. Maria Beltrade:

Muurschildering S. Maria Beltrade
In the realm of vestments, a Jugendstil cope from Klosterneuberg:

Jugendstil Cope, Klosterneuberg
Jugendstil Cope, Klosterneuberg
Finally, in the book arts:

French-Latin Missal bound in leather for an 'aristocratic' French-Canadian Family

Other Modern work is something that we explored for many years on NLM and it is something we fully intend to continue to explore here on LAJ as well.

While many readers may outright prefer purely traditional historical styles -- which is perfectly fine -- it is important to recognize that good and worthy liturgical art is not defined simply by what we ourselves might personally prefer. (Even amongst the historically traditional styles, some prefer gothic, others baroque, Romanesque and so on.) Personal tastes are perfectly fine of course, but having the ability to rise above them and understand what is yet good beyond whatever our own personal preferences is important if we are to be objective -- indeed 'catholic' -- in our approach to worthy liturgical arts.

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