Relief of St. Michael from Mussner G. Vincenzo

Continuing on with our consideration of new liturgical arts, this particular work of Mussner G. Vincenzo, who are based out of Ortisei, Italy in the Val Gardenia, caught my attention.  If you recognize that location that is because this is also where Ferdinand Stuflesser, who we recently featured here, are also located. As Mussner note on their website, this locale is known as the "valley of the woodcarvers" due to the long history of woodcarving that has taken place there.

The piece in question is a relief of St. Michael the Archangel which was hard-carved and gilt for a private home. You will see that it brings with it a very ancient feel -- and to my mind also a very mediaeval and Eastern European feel.  Particularly of interest are the intricate patterns found on the clothing, border and background of the piece. It is really very striking.

This is a fine example of what domestic religious art could be and should be. I have often felt that so much of our focus, when it comes to our homes, is on quantity over quality and yet it seems to me that it is far more important to have even just one or two works of high quality rather than a cornucopia of mass produced works of much lower quality.

We perhaps tend to think of these ideals as applying only to our churches and yet there is really no reason why this should be. The domestic church is extremely important and if families have even a single work, whether painted, carved or otherwise, of qualitative noble beauty, it is my belief that this will mean far more and have a much greater impact on them in the long term and, what's more, will teach a much more important lesson.

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