Atelier for the Sacred Arts
1426 Christian Street
Philadelphia, PA 19146
Anthony Visco working on the Narthex Ceiling for The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
As humans, I think we all look for a God that we can realize and experience on different levels whether it is through thought, word, or deed; a God that isn't so incomprehensible that our own beliefs alienate us from the God we seek. As Catholics, I think we have a genuine response to visual art because of our fundamental belief in the Incarnation. As Catholics, it's not a question of anthropomorphism since the Mystery entered its own creation and took on its created flesh. Along with that we realize that not all things are verbally understood or to be explained by word alone. We leave room for the silent homily of sculpture and painting. We are blest with a way and means to express our beliefs in so many ways. We have seen religious art and architecture change lives.
Is there some way in which you find yourself personally influenced by the persons you depict?
Always. There is not a commission that doesn't inspire me to do something that I would otherwise not have done. It's like pulling a thread. You don't know what it will unravel for you as saint leads you to another. It seems one saint leads to another. In doing a model for a sculpture of St. Therese of Liseux and reading her letters. She makes reference to a certain missionary named Theophane Venard who was beheaded in Hanoi in 1861. Visiting his place in Paris inspired me translate his letters from prison and to write a play on his life which I hope can be produced one day.
Excerpt from an Interview by Fr. Michael di Gregorio, OSA, for "The Peacemaker",
Winter Quarter, 2003
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