Three European Woodcarvers

It has been a little while since we've featured some woodcarving -- one of my favourite liturgical artforms -- and what better way than to feature a few of the more prominent European carvers, Mussner G. Vincenzo Ars Sacra (website), ALBL Oberammergau (website) and Ferdinand Stuflesser (website). All three of these carvers have established reputations for excellence, and LAJ is very pleased to also have the first two working in close partnership with us now for many years. 

Let's begin with some recent work by Mussner: A statue -- in fact the very first statue -- of Blessed Maurice Tornay.  This statue has a lovely and lively quality to it, with the cassock of the Blessed very much having the feeling of a real fabric -- a quality that can only be accomplished by the most excellent of craftsmanship. (One is put to mind of masters of marble like Bernini who could actually make marble look and feel more like soft, even sheer materials.)

Next we have a statue by ALBL Oberammergau of St. Anne which is destined for the Church of the Visitation in Texas. The statue as shown here is in its raw carved form and is presently being polychromed. The illustration of the altar, where it will find its permanent home, gives one a good sense of the scale of the piece. It is located in the niche on the very left.

Finally we have a work coming from the workshop of Ferdinando Stufflesser of one of the lesser seen English saints, St. Aidan of Lindisfarne. 

The beauty of naturally carved woodwork has an essence and quality to it that excels so far beyond the plaster and resin statuary that became so popular in the contemporary world. 

In addition, when you engage craftsmen such as these, you can go beyond the cookie-cutter models that seem to be found anywhere and everywhere and also extend beyond the range of the most popular saints into saints of particular significance in local regions. 

As I observe the work of these workshops, at one and the same time you can almost smell the wonderful scent of the raw wood as they work away at their creations and also picture these works in their final destinations, soon to be permeated by another scent: the sweet scents of the incense that will soon envelop them in their proper liturgical contexts.

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