As I mentioned in my last post the piece you saw in the background was this Triptych. This project has been on and off for several years due to consolidation of several parishes, priest changes and numerous other disruptions. So it has just sat and languished until someone picked up the ball to get it rolling again. It got to the point where it sat in the center of my shop for so long I got tired of looking at it and disassembled it and put it into storage. Not a month later didn’t the new Priest call me and asked to come over to see it. Nothing like timing!
Well the new Priest was here today to get updated as to what is ( or is not) going on with this piece. The Priest who originally commissioned it was at the church when I built the piece for over the Tabernacle which is pictured here. This Triptych was to be a matching style piece to be erected over the Baptismal Font. Being over the Font there is a water theme running through the carvings on this piece.
Now a Triptych means three panels. The way this piece will be viewed will be open for most of the year. During Holy Week the piece will be closed. When closed the view will be of Adam and Eve in the Garden with the Serpent. Opening the doors will reveal the scene of the crucifixion with two people catching the blood and water ( very typical in old paintings and iconography). On the inside of the doors will be two carvings on the left hand door from the Old Testament. Moses parting the Sea and the Flood. On the right hand door will be two carvings depicting Jesus sending out his Apostles as well as the Baptism of Jesus.
On the top of the Triptych will be a scene from Genesis where God breathed upon the waters, and the creation of light.
The base will be a modified style Acanthus leaf design based on other Architectural features found in the Church itself.
The background scene ( behind the scene of the Crucifixion) will be the facades of 4 other churches that were closed during this time and folded into this one church. Also , since it’s part of the locale will also be in the distance the image of the Bethlehem Steel. This was chosen for several reasons. One, it too died and has now been brought back to life in a different manner. Also , as some painters such as Da Vinci had done, scenes that were found locally were included in his paintings as backgrounds. I’m following that same idea here as the Bethlehem Steel is such an iconic image in my home town of Bethlehem where this piece will eventually find its home.
Until I get back up to speed on this piece, as well as knock off the rest of the work I have lined up, here are a few shots of where this piece sits. Some of the original sketches to work up the idea,,some clay models,,, some of the basic structure of the piece ,,,, as well as a photo of the other piece I built which this Triptych will mimic in style and finish.
The first piece I built as a backdrop/canopy for the Tabernacle side of the church. It is approx. 14 ft tall and 3 ft wide. The new Triptych will be patterned after this piece.
The original sketch showing what the essential idea of the piece will be. It too will be approx. 14 ft tall , 5 ft wide and 2 ft deep.
A revised overall sketch showing better proportions.
The two door panels when closed will depict the Garden of Eden. The doors are nearly 5 ft wide X 5 1/2 ft tall. The columns ( not completed here) will actually serve as the pivot points for the doors so they can open fully. Otherwise the columns would get in the way and not allow them to open parallel to the wall. I want them to open and be flat across the span allowing full view of the carvings that will be on the reverse of the door panels as well as give full view of the scene inside.
A view of the doors opened. This is where the four panels will be placed as well as the Crucifixion scene in the center.
Granted it’s difficult to see the pencil sketch , but it depicts two people ( undetermined who they will be ) catching the blood and water as well as an outline of the Crucifix.
A sketch of the Crucifixion scene. This will be a full carving. The two people will be 3/4 relief. The people, as well as the Crucifix will be approx. 3/4 life size.
The 3 other churches as well as the Bethlehem Steel will appear in the background in this section of the piece.
The upper triangular section depicting Genesis,breathing upon the waters, bringing light etc. will be illustrated here in a relief carving.
One of the four inner carvings. Here it’s Moses parting the Sea. The arrangement in this scene is triangulated. His arm points to a distant spot, the person in the lower right is pointing to the same spot making the second leg of the triangle and his arm around the second person creates the third leg of the triangle bringing you back to the source. It’s cyclical as your eye keeps following the path.
The second panel ,, the Flood.
The third panel, the Baptism of Jesus. The fourth panel, not completed will be Jesus sending out his Apostles. All panels are approx 2 ft wide by 2 1/2 ft tall. All will be framed with Gothic tracery as seen in the original piece behind the Tabernacle.
As you can see much work still remains to be done. Too bad it took so long to get this back on track but I’m anxious to get back into it. I’ll keep you posted. Hope you found at least this much interesting to look at. It’ll all make more sense when it’s completed I’m sure. The ideas are all in my head and I can see it completed. Give me some time and I’ll complete the picture for you as well.