The Abbey Art Collection:
Seeking Things Above

Beauty is one of the attributes of God, along with truth and goodness. Fr. Thomas Dubay wrote,
“Truth, beauty and goodness have their being together, by truth we are put in touch with reality which we find is good for us and beautiful to behold.”
The Evidential Power of Beauty: Science and Theology Meet, Ignatius Press 1999

Monks have historically been drawn to produce art and to surround themselves with art for spiritual sustenance and inspiration. Through the centuries, monks have preserved art in its many forms. Among these profound works of art are illuminated manuscripts produced in highly specialized scriptoria throughout the Middle Ages. Additionally, monks have been known for calligraphy, bookmaking, iconography, painting, sculpture, tools, and many other forms which adorn Benedictine monastic churches and monasteries. The churches themselves were many times designed and built by the monks. Over the last nearly 140 years, Mount Angel Abbey has received gifts of art, monks have created art, and the Abbey has purchased select works. This web section, titled, “The Abbey Art Collection: Seeking Things Above,” provides a window into the art world of Mount Angel Abbey. At various times throughout the year, this window will focus on different media and pieces from the Collection. It is hoped that visitors to this virtual exhibit will enjoy seeing, learning about, and be inspired by the art. (Fr. Nathan Zodrow, O.S.B., Curator)

– Every experience of beauty points to infinity. (Hans Urs von Balthasar)

Virtual Exhibit: Lovely to Behold

What you will find here and why

For those who have experienced the renovated Saint Benedict Guesthouse and Retreat Center, the question may arise, “Where did the art come from and why has it been placed here? There is something different about it!” We hope there is. When Fr. Pius X Harding, O.S.B., guest master, and I discussed the final placement of art pieces in 2019 – 2020, it became apparent that Fr. Pius was working from a philosophy or a vision that guided choice and placement. Over the years, Mount Angel has been blessed with many people choosing us as a place to give their treasured art. I say this because, we had a number of very good pieces available for the guesthouse and a number of groups/individuals ready to help adorn the walls and renovated spaces. Yet, we were not interested just in décor. Religious art should not only be décor: that is, the right look, right color, right size, pleasant, or whatever. It is not decoration in that sense. Good religious art promotes spiritual insight, right doctrine, and sound theology, a soul’s experience, and support of one’s faith. This is what Fr. Pius told me as we began to sift art work to carefully place in this new and beautiful space provided by many generous and faith-filled donors. So, here are some of the pieces; more will follow in time. We now have nearly 100 pieces placed in the building. (Fr. Nathan Zodrow, O.S.B., curator).

The virtual exhibit below will be displayed through September 30, 2020.