Monumental work

Monumental work

I was confronted with the problem of mural painting for the first time in 1947 : I was asked to create two mosaics for the church of Assy. This was the starting point of a parallel career for the easel painter that I was (and that I still am). The architectural space implies some constraints that the painter must at all times keep in mind; he has to try and succeed in blending painting with architecture, and this applies to all techniques : painting itself, mosaic, tapestry, stained glass windows or glass slabs.

Théodore Strawinsky

(Lo Strona n° 2, 1980)

Strawinsky converted to Catholicism in 1940. As from 1948, he began taking on regular commissions for stained glass windows, mosaics and frescos, which provided him with a regular income. In particular, alongside other artists such as Rouault, Bonnard, Léger, Lurçat, Braque, Matisse and Chagall, he contributed to one of the leading works that marked the revival of religious art, namely, the decoration of the church of Notre-Dame-de-Toute-Grâce on the Assy plateau in the Haute-Savoie region. His principal works are to be found in Yverdon (Saint-Pierre), in Gennep, Holland (Saint-Martin) and, notably, in Fribourg at the Church of Christ-Roi, inaugurated in 1971. He worked directly with contractors and developed a particular mastery of the glass slab technique that uses pieces of coloured glass set in a matrix of concrete. From an aesthetic and catechetical point of view he was a defender of both decorative and figurative art, “the two true pillars of religious art” (Nova and Vetera, 1956).

Philippe Kaenel

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