Wisdom on Wednesdays—The only conservative worth his salt


pastel on paper, 14 x 10 in.

“The only conservative worth his salt is one whose stand is outside all Capitalism: on Wisdom and Charity, on sculpture and painting as Fine Arts; in a word, on personal Religion and its symbols.”  (1961)


Wisdom on Wednesdays—The lyric mood must be kept at all costs


Untitled, 15 x 18 in.
An early painting executed with a palette knife.

“The lyric mood must be kept at all costs and preserved from the terrible enmity of active life. The spirit of the times and of our country is dead against that leisure without which true Religion and true art cannot flourish.”  (December 1924)

Wisdom on Wednesdays—The art of religions

“In comparatively aesthetic sterile periods, like that of today, when the science rather than art of religions flourishes, critics are tempted to see no connection between religion and beauty, mistaking as they do, the external shell, which today is prosperous generally, for religion in its fullness.”
—from the essay “The Value of the Fine Arts” (March 1943)

Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, view of the apse under construction, c. 1908. Pencil and chalk on paper.
Schmitt passed by this view on his way to art school from his apartment at 400 Manhattan Avenue to the 110th street subway.

Wisdom on Wednesdays—A passion for the permanence of matter

“Religion today is often nothing more than a concept.
“Hence the seeming dichotomy between religion and beauty.
“For the artist has an instinct for material absolutes: he has a passion for the permanence of matter which the philosopher, in his specialization, seems to ignore.  Hence, a Roman Paganism seems necessary to balance the Greco-Jewish religion which tends either to Gnosticism, or concepts, or both, avoiding the Incarnation and death of a God-man.”  (1952)


Madonna Against a Hillside, oil on canvas, 24 x 20 in.

Wisdom on Wednesdays—The magnificent virtue of Rome

“We hear often enough of the pagan vices (Rome always seems to have fallen) but it is time to recognize the important place which history gives to the pagan virtues.

“The era of Augustus with its grandeur and peace could never have occurred without magnificent virtue, and it is only on such magnificent natural virtue that the supernatural virtues of Christianity can be placed, if they are to survive (short of miracle).
For the supernatural religion cannot exist by itself; it cannot float in mid-air.  It must be superimposed upon a foundation of balanced and vigorous natural religion.”  (1943)

40014alt - CROPPED

Lady Chapel, Paulist Church (New York City), etching, 1915 (printed 1921), 8 x 6¼ in.