Sculpting saints from Christianity's creative soup

Timothy Schmalz

Timothy Schmalz is a modern sculptor, whose striking religious bronzes in public places have caught the public imagination. Here he explains the method and inspiration behind his recent Pope St John XXIII sculpture and other works.

In this video from the artist's own YouTube channel, you will hear him explain his interactive sculpture concept for a new work commemorating John XXIII. 

To watch this video on YouTube, CLICK HERE

The National Catholic Register writes that Timothy Schmalz's works in bronze grace churches, shrines, and public places in various countries. His sculptures were blessed by two Popes — one of them now a saint, John Paul II.

Many of his works are life-size or larger than life — from the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock in Ireland (that boasts saint statues  range from 1.8 - 2.5 metres [six to eight feet] tall) and Ave Maria University (his body of Christ image is 1.6m by 1.4m [64 inches by 56 inches]) to the new outdoor Stations of the Cross at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass (similar dimensions).

He also produces small scale replicas, which have found a place in a number of homes, too.

While working on his current round of bronze sculptures, which include Blessed Mother Teresa and another version of the Stations of the Cross, Schmalz talked with the Register about the importance of Catholic art and his work from his studio in St. Jacobs, Canada.

Q: Why do you concentrate on Christian art?

The subject matter that really sustains me spiritually is, basically, Christian artwork. I wake at 4am and take my sculpture seriously, almost as a monk would take prayer. Looking back at more than 25 years of sculpture, there's really no way I'd continue if not for the subject matter of Christianity. It is essentially the most phenomenal starting point for creativity.

Q: The Renaissance greats thought like that, too.

When you look a little closer at the lives of those artists, like Michelangelo and Bernini, these were very spiritual people. To say the reason why they did the most amazing masterpieces was because patrons wanted them to be done is patronising to those masters.

Take Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel. If you change the subject matter to a picnic in spring or a day at the beach, no matter how wonderfully executed with pigments or facial expressions, it’s going to fall short. Same with the Pietá.

First, in order to have a great sculpture, you need a great subject matter — something powerful to express. Second, Christianity is unlike any other theology or subject matter — it’s endless in its 'creative soup,' so to speak, that feeds and gives artists this amazing artistic journey for hundreds of years.

Read full article: Inspiring Through Artwork (National Catholic Register)


Homeless Jesus Sculpture (Timothy P. Schmalz/YouTube)

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