This handsome coffee-table book gathers 44 full-color plates covering a lifetime of liturgical art by Benedictine Br. Martin Erspamer. Presenting “art as an experience of the transcendent,” it’s a feast for the eyes — and the soul.
“Look with your soul at the beauty it offers”
Benedictine Archabbot Justin DuVall makes that explicit in this invitation: “To all who will take up this volume: Look with your soul at the beauty it offers. It gives color and shape and texture to the hope ‘that in all things God may be glorified.'”
A well-known liturgical artist
Now a member of St. Meinrad Archabbey in southern Indiana, Br. Martin (formerly Steve Erspamer, SM) is a well-known liturgical artist. From 2005 to 2007, his art graced the covers of 18 missals published by OCP, including Breaking Bread and Today’s Missal. Thousands of parishes across the U.S. use his distinctive, black-and-white clip art in their Sunday bulletins.
Includes paintings, glass art, ceramics and furniture
The book includes sections for art (paintings), glass, ceramics, and furniture (altars, ambos, reliquaries and processional crosses). Section introductions address the advantages of each medium. His pictorial art includes drawings and paintings as well as woodcuts, linocuts and hand-cut amberlith film.
Art in the Benedictine tradition and the history of liturgical art
But The Work of Our Hands is more than an overview of Br. Martin’s life and art. The extensive introduction, foreword, preface, section introductions and plate captions offer a fascinating commentary on art in the Benedictine tradition and the history and purpose of liturgical art.
Illuminating captions by the artist himself
The captions, written by Br. Martin himself, explain the inspiration behind and symbols within each work. Many of his figures were directly inspired by medieval and Gothic figures he witnessed first hand in European churches.
Luxuriously case-bound — makes a great gift
Luxuriously case-bound and protected by a beautifully designed dust jacket, this book makes an excellent gift for artists, art students, as well as anyone with an interest in liturgical art and Benedictine spirituality.
Fittingly, the title speaks of “our hands” not “my hands.” Br. Martin is part of a monastic community that works and prays together, that holds everything in common; he also stands on a tradition of liturgical art with two millennia of momentum behind it.