Wisdom on Wednesdays—The art of shepherds and kings

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Nativity, woodblock print, c. 1920.

“Christian art is primarily the art of the peasant and the prince—unselfconsciously in a stable; shepherds and kings once made simple loving gifts and regal wise sacrifices.” (1932)

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Wisdom on Wednesdays—The desire of the wildest imagination

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Annunciation, 1921, oil on canvas, 20 x 24 in.

“Today we forget that Christ came not only because man needed hope for eternal beatitude but that he was also the historic concrete answer to the desire of the wildest imagination: the appearance on earth of a God-man.  History united to myth.”  (1960)

Carl Schmitt Christmas cards now for sale

Beautiful Christmas cards featuring paintings of Carl Schmitt are now for sale.  Each 4¼” x 5½” card is printed on 130 lb. paper with a premium high-gloss finish.  Matching white vellum envelopes with a self-adhesive flap are included with your order, which benefits the Foundation.

2014 Christmas card images

left to right: Blue Madonna, Dalmatian Mother, and Nativity

And don’t forget—our handsome coffee-table book, Carl Schmitt: The Vision of Beauty, our collection of Schmitt’s essays, The Conscience of Beauty, and museum-quality prints of selected works of Schmitt are also available and make wonderful gifts for Christmas.

Unique religious painting by Carl Schmitt now for sale

Gethsemane, signed “Carl Schmitt 1924”, oil on canvas mounted on board, 30 x 25 in.

This painting, a striking example of Carl Schmitt’s early religious work, is being offered for sale by the owner, a private party in Connecticut.  If you are interested in acquiring this painting, please contact the Foundation.

Label on the back of the stretcher for the exhibit at the Silvermine Tavern and Galleries, December 1930-January 1931.

This work was exhibited at a one-man show at the Silvermine Tavern and Galleries from December 1930 through mid-January of the following year. The owner of the Gallery, John Kenneth Byard, was a one-time patron of Schmitt’s and early benefactor of the Silvermine Guild of Artists.  Schmitt’s agreement with Byard in the 1920s gave Byard the right to acquire all of Schmitt’s work not commissioned by other patrons, and an inventory from 1932 lists this painting in Byard’s possession. The present owner’s grandfather knew Byard (probably as his employer), and most likely acquired the painting directly from him.

This painting is one of many depictions of this scene Schmitt painted between the mid-1920s and early 1930s (some now lost).  A number were experimental works, featuring what one critic called “weird pigmentation.” This painting is unique its kaleidoscopic color and dramatic rendering of Christ’s agony in the garden.

Commenting on a similar Gethsemane by Schmitt, the same critic noted that it had “a subtle quality not entirely unlike the mysticism of El Greco.  Unlike the various moderns who emulate in their work the tortuous rhythms of the great master, Mr. Schmitt brooks no such conscious imitation. His paintings are original and deeply interesting.”

Gethsemane pastel on paper. Private collection (not for sale)
This pastel, probably dating from the 1930s, contrasts dramatically with the vivid coloration and pleading central figure of the similar painting.

Wisdom on Wednesdays—As near despair and madness as possible

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St. Paul the Hermit, oil on canvas, c. 1922, 30 x 25 in. (Private collection)
Schmitt’s depiction of St. Paul of Thebes (d. c. 341) being fed miraculously by a raven was probably inspired by a painting of the saint by the great seventeenth-century Spanish artist Velázquez. The enigmatic figure on the foreground is Schmitt’s own contribution.
A version of this painting in brighter colors is part of the Carl Schmitt Foundation’s collection.

“To come as near despair as possible without losing hope—that is the aim of a Christian.
“To come as near madness as possible without losing sanity—(that is, to be as fanatical as possible without losing idiocy) is the aim of an artist.”  (1932)