Approach to Christian Sculpture (Zeller)

Approach to Christian Sculpture (Zeller)

The Cenacle Press at Silverstream Priory

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"Before a piece of sculpture can be called Christian we must be sure that it can be called sculpture."

With the insight and charm characteristic of his spiritual meditations, in this volume Benedictine monk and artist Hubert van Zeller examines sacred art from the angle of his own artistic specialty: sculpture. First published in 1959, these reflections on the relationship of sculptor and sculpture, spirituality and artistic inspiration, remain relevant today. Arguing that "religious carving is meant to be a plea for light and truth, not for charm," van Zeller is concerned with "the present lack of direction in Christian sculpture." The life-long sculptor and Catholic priest approaches the topic in both technical and spiritual aspects, ironically noting that "before a piece of sculpture can be called Christian we must be sure that it can be called sculpture." From his concise history of the development of sculpture styles to the place of symbol and truth in art, this book is capable of inspiring not only truer art but truer Christianity in a new generation of readers.

Illustrated with a dozen plates of Van Zeller's own sculptures, this reprint is entirely re-typeset and includes a new foreword by artist and writer Julian Kwasniewski which gives additional biographical and theological context to this book.


Born in British-controlled Egypt, Dom Hubert van Zeller (1905–1984) was a Benedictine monk of Downside Abbey in Bath, England, where he was educated. Of his scholastic career he said that he “passed no examinations—merely by-passed them.” The author of numerous books ranging from scriptural commentary to fiction and biography, he was also renowned as a minimalist sculptor and cartoonist. He was a friend of Ronald Knox and of Evelyn Waugh, who described Dom Hubert’s writings as “characterized by vitality and elegance.”

Page count: 166

ISBN: 9781915544285

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