Esto Perpetua, oil on canvas, c. 1945, 36 x 30 in.
This painting was inspired by a book by Hilaire Belloc, Esto Perpetua: Algerian Studies and Impressions, a copy of which Belloc sent to Schmitt in April 1913. The fruit of Belloc’s travels to the Maghreb region of North Africa in 1905, its potent evocation of the long-lost Roman and Christian patrimony of the area—once the home of St. Augustine of Hippo—proved irresistible to Schmitt.
“We have reached the period of totalitarianism; of total slavery. Our choice is between the Servile State of avaricious materialism (factory civilization) and total Christianity.”
—from the essay “Images” (1943)