Leading the Way in Liturgical Art and Design: Talleres de Arte Granda

Recently while on pilgrimage in Madrid I was pleased to meet up with an old friend of mine from studium days in Rome, a very gifted and esteemed Catholic architect by the name of Lucas Viar.  Lucas is doing great things as Artistic Director at Granda, one of the world's leading Catholic liturgical art and design studios.  I have always been a huge fan of Granda -- their work is of outstanding merit and quality.  Granda has made an incredible contribution to the restoration of beauty in the liturgy, inviting us to another place, renewing the classical tradition while not destroying it.

Photos by OC-Travel
The work of Granda has become ever more visible in recent years.  Granda designed Mother Angelica's magnificent Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama, completed in 1999.  This was the largest single project to date for Granda, which also designed and produced all of the liturgical appointments for World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid.  Granda is perhaps best known for their design of the beautiful Opus Dei chapels throughout the world.  They are presently active with multiple projects in the United States, including the exquisite new Jesuit high school chapel in Florida.     

Granda was founded in 1891 by a Spanish priest who was a very gifted artist, painter, sculptor and designer, Fr. Felix Granda y Buylla (1868 - 1954).  The company began in Madrid and received its name from his surname.  Fr. Granda was concerned with what he saw as a degradation of liturgical arts in his own time.  His response was to create an enterprise with the blessing of the local bishop that would bring together the best artistic minds and hands to help recapture the beauty and splendor that has always characterized the best in Christian art and architecture.

The vision of Fr. Granda is summarized in this philosophy: "...to begin a work from those same origins; to drink from the same founts that inspired Christian art in its most glorious epochs.  All this, deeply felt and executed with careful study, is what I desire to do with my own labors, and is what I want the artists and employees who from these workshops to do."

The modus operandi of Fr. Granda was to craft the best ecclesiastical furnishings and appointments for the altar and sanctuary that would be of the highest possible quality, suitable for the holy of holies, a legacy of the best materials and skill available, reclaiming the sacred symbolism that is sometimes gradually lost through lack of attention and sensitivity to the heritage of Christian art.

The work of Granda continues today, producing some of the world's most beautiful chalices, candle sticks, relic holders, crosiers, ciboria, tabernacles, monstrances, statues, palls, altar linens and much more.  The principal office and studio warehouse is located in Madrid.  A satellite office is located in Chicago.  I encourage pastors and parish councils to consider Granda for their next project and to be in touch for the best possible custom work, interior design and renovations, liturgical furnishings, metalwork, statues, reliefs and so much more.

When many of us think of Spanish Catholicism our hearts are drawn to the Spanish Golden Age, the intense period that coincided with the rise of the Spanish Habsburg dynasty and the Spanish Empire, when the flourishing of arts in tradition and technique reached an exhilarating apogee in Spain and her colonies.  That was a time that set a high standard in the area of visual arts, during the reign King Philip II of Spain, a champion of Counter-Reformation arts and architecture.  Philip devoted much of his forty-two-year reign lavishing a seemingly inexhaustible supply of beauty on the world, covered in a rich supply of gold from the Americas, helping to revitalize the Faith in the Spanish kingdoms and territories.  Let us pray for the continued success of Granda, uniting the best of the old with the new, helping to maintain the exalted place of beauty in our lives.  This because beauty is a real and universal value, anchored in our rational nature, an ultimate value that we pursue for its own sake, right up there with truth and goodness.   

Join in the conversation on our Facebook page.