8 Comments

  1. This is a most impressive and prestigious project, Aidan. It has long been fashionable for Anglican and Catholic cathedrals to display Orthodox icons, but to commission an Orthodox sculptor for a work as central and significant as this is really noteworthy. I’d be interested to hear more about how people have reacted, and whether the project has served as an opportunity to draw people towards the Orthodox Church.

  2. Aidan Hart

    Thank you. So far, judging from the comments made, it is indeed acting like an icon. A critical part of making an icon is to express compassion and ‘joyful sadness’ in the face, especially that of the Mother of God. So the first comment below was encouraging!

    “She is even more beautiful than I remember. She fills the chapel with her presence. I had a conversation with a woman sitting next to me at the end of the service. She said she was somewhat taken aback by OLoL when she first saw the sculpture. Her face was an enigma to her. Until she got home & saw her own face in the mirror. She then realised that Mary’s expression was a reflection of how she had looked when she was grieving over the death of her beloved daughter.”

    “OLoL already looks as if she has always been in the Chapel. Aidan, you have created a holy & imaginative space that makes our reality more expansive & will assist the pilgrims to find what they are searching for. I can see why you wanted to polychrome the sculpture. I now understand colour as an animating force. It infuses the stone with warmth & endows it with a soul . BVM & Child seem to breathe & speak to us. The pigments you have used respond to each other & there is a glow from within their depth that conveys the complex emotions of Mother & Child.”

  3. Tom L.

    If statues have to be done, I believe this is how it ought to happen. It is firmly rooted in it’s place, and decidedly frontal. It’s as if it predates the gothic ornamentation on the walls. Marvellous.

    The colours turned out splendid as well, far removed from the gaudy polychromy of the ‘style sulpicien’ too often seen in catholic and anglican churches.

  4. Steve Robinson

    Beautiful! Your dedication to the Theotokos and Child and the Tradition is manifest.
    May many be blessed!

  5. Very good job, I like it.As an artist myself, i like the work

  6. aka

    I have often wondered if a ‘reverse’ 3D sculpture would best translate Byzantine iconography into something more like a sculpture. That is, a block of stone where the sculpture is actually a removal of stone revealing the image within the block, surrounded by stone, rather than a removal of the stone surrounding the figure. That is, something similar to the cast of a sculpture rather than the sculpture itself. Another analogy would be the way sound engineers in film remove ambient noise by recording the sound of the room “tone” and then simply reversing it and playing it along with the actual tone thus canceling out that ambient sound. The sculpture could simply be ‘reversed’: where it comes out, the reverse sculputre goes in, thus making it something other than a simple cast. This would actually, like an icon, draw the viewer into the image rather than setting the image apart as an object to be viewed.

  7. Congratulations, Aidan. I really love the translucent use of colour, it gives a kind of integrity by keeping a sense of the stone underneath. I am certain parishioners will be blessed to encounter our Holy Mother and our Lord through such a powerful image.

  8. Evdokia

    This is so very beautiful! I love the subtlety of the color application where it looks like it could be a very ancient statue without the obvious “distressing” people would do to make something appear older than what it is. It perfectly fits in with the setting. Well done!

    I’m new to this journal so forgive me if this has been mentioned here before, but your back in 2008 there was some buzz on the Orthodox and Byzantine blogosphere about the “Iconic Monstrance” (polychromed wood statue of Our Lady of the Sign that also serves as a giant monstrance for Eucharistic adoration) that was erected at St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic parish in Chicago. Their statue is chock full o’ symbolism, where the Theotokos, (Ark of the New Covenant) is depicted siting upon a golden Ark of the Covenant. A very large Eucharist wafer is placed in a compartment (which is located where the Christ child would appear on the icon) on occasion for adoration. This was the first time I had seen a modern three dimensional “icon” and was very fascinated by the idea (especially since a Catholic church chose to depict the Theotokos in a very “Orthodox” style, with her red garments, and placement behind the altar, etc.) If you google “Iconic Monstrance” and look at the images, you will see what I am referring too. i’m not sure if I can post links in the comments area.

    With its simplicity (in comparison to the “Iconic Monstrance”), I find myself more drawn to Aidan’s work. I think there is so much going on with the Iconic Monstrance that I would find it very hard to remain prayerful… I have an immediate sense of peace looking at this work. Very beautiful and thank you for sharing your story and images/details with us!

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