Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Art and Beauty Tuesday--Stefan Niedorezo
I just discovered this beautiful monstrance located in St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Chicago. It is the largest monstrance at 9 feet and 700 lbs and is front and center of the church.
It was hand carved by Stefan Niedorezo, who is a Polish Catholic artist, and uses both Eastern and Western Catholic, as well as Jewish symbolism. The style of Our Lady is seen on Byzantine Icons--red symbolizing kingship. The use of a monstrance itself is of Western origin, and it is placed within Our Lady, for she carried Jesus both in her womb and in her heart. The moon under her feet is from Revelation 12:1's description of "a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head, a crown of 12 stars."
The rectangular box with the angels is taken from Exodus 25's description of the Ark of the Covenant, which held the 10 Commandments and the manna God sent from Heaven to feed the Israelites in the desert. The Ark would have been in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle, where no one but the priest could enter. In Christianity, Mary is the Ark of the Covenant, for she held Jesus, the Bread of Life, within herself.
This monstrance is a modern example of the centuries-old tradition of Catholic art that inspires, teaches and unifies.