The “Groupe de Saint-Luc et de Saint-Maurice” and church art in Switzerland in the interwar period

Joanna Wolańska

Cracow (independent scholar)


The revival of church art in Romandy in the interwar period was as noteworthy as that in France, even though it is not known as widely. The article is an attempt at a general characterization of the work by Groupe de Saint-Luc et de Saint-Maurice carried out mostly in countryside churches of Romandy. Nearly sixty first-class ensembles of decorations of church interiors executed over the span of twenty-five years (1920–1945) offer a remarkable testimony of the group’s activity. Its realizations were created by several artists among whom only some declared themselves to be regular members of the group; others – like the well-known Italian painter and art theorist Gino Severini – were only loosely associated with the group. Its existence and activity is a phenomenon whose success can be explained by some particularly favourable circumstances (despite the economic crisis of the 1930s) and the close collaboration of three significant individuals: the driving force and the actual founder of the association was the Genevese painter, decorator and writer Alexandre Cingria (1879–1945); the designer of most of the churches decorated and furnished by the members of the group was Fernand Dumas (1892–1956), a talented architect and great organizer; the association could also always count on the support of the Catholic Bishop of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg in the period 1920–1945 Fr. Marius Besson (1876–1945), who was keenly interested in art. The deaths of Besson and Cingria, the most important figures in the association’s activities, mark the end of its existence in 1945.

Keywords: Romandy (Romandie), Swiss church art, Alexandre Cingria, Gino Severini, Fernand Dumas, Groupe de Saint-Luc et de Saint-Maurice


In the interwar period Switzerland was an intriguing and little-known centre of church art production; at that time, one could observe there an enormous growth in the number of newly-built churches as well as the refurbishment of the interiors of the existing ones. Since Switzerland did not participate in the First World War, this phenomenon, unlike in France or Germany, cannot be explained as “raising from ruin”. Characteristically, this unprecedented and large-scale movement was practically limited only to the French-speaking part of Switzerland (“la Suisse romande” or Romandy), related by its language – and as follows, culture – to neighbouring France.[1] The activities connected with church art in the other parts of the Confederation (most of all, in the German one) did not exceed the European average. Switzerland’s example seems, then, very instructive, although it has its own limitations, such as, for example, the unnatural homogeneity of styles in Romandy, created by one group of artists, who were led or inspired essentially by one architect. While in France architects conducted huge experiments with a new material (reinforced concrete), introducing impressive and startling plans and forms of churches,[2] in Romandy the emphasis was laid on the local character and the harmony between the churches – usually rural ones – and the landscape. The new tendencies, Purist and Constructivist, found their expression rather in the German-speaking part of the country, or in the bigger cities of other Swiss regions, where the modern forms of the churches could be quite easily incorporated into the urban setting, without destroying the harmony of the landscape (the key issue here was undoubtedly the “modern” or even “avant-garde” attitude of the congregations, or the church builders in general[3]).

            In general, while somewhat simplifying, one is tempted to use here the stereotypical division into the two spheres of influence: the “German” and the “French”.[4] When it comes to stylistics, the works of church art in interwar Europe can be clearly assigned to either of these spheres, corresponding with the areas covered by these two languages (and cultures).[5] The characteristic features of German church buildings were defined by Fr. Arnaud d’Agnel as follows: “Their external structure gives off the general impression of solidity, strength and sadness. The forms are massive, the façades bare or very modestly decorated, the windows usually tall and narrow, the towers stocky, not highly-raised, and if they are high, they look austere. They speak rather to the soul than to the heart”.[6] The decorations of German churches could be described in similar terms, as rather “sad” and “austere”, and their extent is very limited. Decorative elements could be encountered much more often and in much bigger numbers in French churches, where there still remained many elements of “St-Sulpice style”. Apart from the ultra-modern realizations such as the Perrets’ churches, it should be noticed that church art in France was much more strongly inspired by tradition than the German one. The allusions were mostly literal, not only symbolic (as for instance in the Perrets’ churches alluding to the French Gothic). Finally, the French churches readily accommodated, for example, the paintings by Maurice Denis and similar artists – an idea that would have been unthinkable in Germany.[7]

The post-WWI period in the art of the 20th century is a time of very important changes, continuing despite the war (or even drawing inspiration from war-time events) the revolutionary changes which started at the beginning of the century. A characteristic feature of this period is a backlash against the avant-garde art; in the 1910s and 1920s the classicist tendencies were becoming increasingly stronger. All over Europe the calls for rappel or retour à l’ordre (the “order” in the classicist sense, turning back from the experiments of avant-garde art) or “antimodernism” were growing louder.[8] The changes in the work of the leading avant-garde artists, such as Pablo Picasso or Gino Severini, were more and more visible. Under such circumstances religious art in France and Switzerland started to flourish.

The revival of church art in Romandy in the interwar period, although it is as interesting as the one which took place in France, is not as widely known. Unlike in France, it could be credited only to one group of artists, which was actually very similar to many associations active in France.[9] Nearly sixty sets of high-quality church decorations that were executed within a quarter of a century (1920–1945), during which the Groupe de Saint-Luc et de Saint-Maurice (its original full name) was active, are a very remarkable testimony. The realizations credited to the group were created by artists, only some of whom were permanent members of the group, while others were only loosely connected with it. This, however, seems not to have hindered their collaboration.[10] The existence and activity of the group is a unique phenomenon, but the secret of its success could be quite easily (even if only partly) explained by very favourable circumstances, despite the great economic crisis of the 1930s, as well as the harmonious collaboration of three significant members of the group. The driving force and the actual founder of the association was the Genevese painter, decorator and writer Alexandre Cingria (1879–1945).[11] The designer of most of the churches, either newly-built or only re-furbished by the members of the group, was Fernand Dumas (1892–1956),[12] a talented architect and great organizer. Moreover, the members of the association could always count on the support of Fr. Marius Besson (1876–1945), the Catholic bishop of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg in 1920–1945, who was keenly interested in art.[13] Bishop Besson should be also credited with promoting the peaceful co-existence of Catholics and Protestants; not an insignificant achievement, taking into account the fact that the core group members hailed from Geneva, the city of Calvin, where the equality of both denominations was not self-evident. The end of the association in 1945 should be connected with the deaths of Besson and Cingria, the key figures in the group.

Translated by Monika Mazurek

[1] On church art in Switzerland in the 19th c., cf. Melchior Paul von Deschwanden: “Ich male für fromme Gemütter…”. Zur religiösen Schweizer Malerei im 19. Jahrhundert, ed. F. Zelger, exhibition catalogue, Kunstmuseum Luzern, 7 July – 15 September 1985, Luzern 1985.

[2] An extensive and lavishly illustrated review of modern churches in France can be found in G. Arnaud d’Agnel, L’art religieux moderne, Grenoble 1936 (= Art et Paysages, 2), vol. 2, pp. 15–57 (ills. up to p. 47). The author states at the beginning that “the diversity of modern church architecture in France cannot be surpassed by any other country’s” (p. 15) [All quotations, unless otherwise indicated, translated from the Polish by Monika Mazurek]. Among the most impressive realizations – apart from the flagship constructions of “the concrete Gothic” such as Notre-Dame du Raincy or the Perret brothers’ church of St Therese in Montmagny – one should include: the church of St Joan of Arc in Nice by Jacques Droz, the churches in Elisabethville by Paul Tournon and in Audincourt by Fr. Paul Bellot.

[3] Ibidem, pp. 90–95. Interestingly enough, in the selection made by Fr. Arnaud d’Agnel, one can find only one church from the group of “vernacular” churches mentioned earlier (which are going to be discussed in more detail below). Emphasizing the existence of this distinct, original and independent movement in Switzerland’s church architecture, the author concentrates on the examples which, as he himself observes, are obviously derivative in comparison with the architecture of Germany or France, but they are clearly “modern”. The examples include St Peter’s church in Fribourg (Switzerland) and Notre-Dame in Berne by Fernand Dumas, the church in Tavannes by Adolphe Guyonnet, and most of all St Anthony’s church in Basel (Sankt-Anton, nicknamed by the congregation “Sankt-Beton” because of its austerity), a concrete church that was ultra-modern at that time, by Karl Moser, whose work was compared by Arnaud d’Agnel to the projects by the Perret brothers.

[4] I use this division only technically, as a convenient tool, without connecting these ideas with any sort of ideology, although I am aware of the fact that in the early 20th c. such unambiguously hostile opposition between the noble “Marianne” and the barbaric “Germania” was drawn. The propaganda spreading the mutual French-German animosity, especially on the French part, in the period leading up to the outbreak of the First World War, was discussed at length by K.E. Silver, Esprit de corps. The Art of the Parisian Avant-Garde and the First World War, 1914–1925, Princeton (NJ) 1989, esp. pp. 6–27.

[5] In the literature contemporary with the discussed events one can find many proofs that such a division, even if only implicit, was used. For example, the already quoted Fr. Arnaud d’Angel wrote about the above-mentioned St Anthony’s church in Basel that “it belongs to Switzerland because of its location, but its architecture and decorations are German” (Arnaud d’Agnel 1936, as in fn. 3, p. 95). A good example confirming the existence of such a division is also Switzerland itself, where within one state one can see clear differences, including architectural ones, matching the extent of a given language.

[6] Ibidem, pp. 82–83.

[7] This does not mean that decorations in German churches were always in impeccable taste; the fact that it was not always the case is confirmed by a fragmentary discussion of partially surviving paintings in the Rhineland churches, cf. E. Peters, Kirchliche Wandmalerei im Rheinland 1920–1940, Rheinbach 1996. Nevertheless, expressionist tendencies were strong in Germany and its paintings were quite different stylistically from its counterparts in France. Regarding “German” Switzerland (Deutschschweiz), an exception confirming the above rule could be, for instance, the very traditional church work of the painter Fritz Kunz (1868–1947), cf. Fritz Kunz und die religiöse Malerei. Christliche Kunst in der Deutschschweiz 1890–1960, eds. R.E. Keller, A. Claude, exhibition catalogue, Zug, Museum in der Burg, 17 June – 23 September 1990, Zug 1990.

[8] These issues are discussed in Silver’s book (as in fn. 5) and by R. Golan, Modernity and Nostalgia. Art and Politics in France between the Wars, New Haven–London 1995; cf. also the conference proceedings Le Retour à l’ordre dans les arts plastiques et l’architecture, 1919–1925. Actes du second colloque d’Histoire de l’Art contemporain, Saint-Étienne 1975 (= Université de Saint-Étienne, Travaux XXVI), esp. J. Laude, Retour et/ou rappel à l’ordre?, ibidem, pp. 7–44.

[9] G. and H. Taillefert, Les Sociétés d’Artistes et la fondation de l’Art catholique, in: L’Art Sacré au XXe siècle en France, exhibition catalogue, Musée Municipal de Boulogne-Billancourt, January – March 1993, Thonon-les-Bains 1993, pp. 15–25 (esp. p. 20). The groups of artists practising church art were presented in the monograph articles published in the journal “L’Artisan liturgique”. On artists’ associations with regard to their interest in liturgy see: Arnaud d’Agnel 1936, as in fn. 3, pp. 81–88 (ch. VII: L’art moderne et la liturgie), and M. Brillant, L’art chrétien en France au XXe siècle. Ses tendances nouvelles, Paris [1927], pp. 65–88 (ch. II: Les groupes d’artistes).

[10] The statute of the group did not allow formal membership for non-Catholics; some artists did convert to Catholicism, but there were also many whose collaboration with Catholic artists or decorating of Catholic churches was not hindered by religious differences (P. Rudaz, Des Genevois à Fribourg, in: Le Groupe de St-Luc. Renouveau de l’Art sacré 1920–1945, exhibition catalogue, Musée du Pays et Val du Charmey, 22 October 1995 – 7 January 1996, “Patrimoine Fribourgeois” 5, 1995 [special issue], p. 6).

[11] J.-B. Bouvier, Alexandre Cingria, „Pages d’art”, fév. 1926, pp. 25–30; A. Berchtold, Alexandre Cingria, in: idem, La Suisse romande au cap du XXe siècle. Portrait littéraire et morale, Lausanne 1963, pp. 606–615; cf. also S. Donche Gay, Cingria, Alexandre [1998], in: SIKART. Lexikon der Kunst in der Schweiz, [accessed: 21 June 2016], with the primary and secondary sources. It may be of interest to Polish readers that Alexandre Cingria’s mother was Caroline Stryjeńska (1846–1913), a talented painter and sister of the renowned architect Tadeusz Stryjeński. Both of them were born in Carouge, a district of Geneva which is considered to be the cradle of the revival of religious art discussed here (cf. P. Rudaz, Carouge, foyer d’art sacré, 1920–1945, exhibition catalogue, Musée du Carouge, 25 November 1998 – 31 January 1999, Carouge 1998).

[12] Ch. Allenspach, Dumas, Fernand, in: Architektenlexikon der Schweiz 19./20. Jahrhundert, eds. I. Rucki, D. Huber, Basel–Boston–Berlin 1998, pp. 2–3; A. Lauper, Nova et Vetera. Fernand Dumas bâtisseur d’églises, in: Le Groupe de St-Luc… 1995, as in fn. 11, pp. 17–28.

[13] F. Charrière, S. Exz. Msgr. Marius Besson, Bischof von Lausanne, Genf und Freiburg, transl. from the French by E. Schwarz, Freiburg 1946, pp. 79–87 (ch. “Msgr. Besson und die christliche Kunst”); L. Wæber, Son Excellence Mgr Marius Besson, “Nouvelles Étrennes Fribourgeoises”, 1945/1946, pp. 225–237; A. Berchtold, Monseignieur Marius Besson, in: idem, La Suisse…, as in fn. 12, pp. 588–593; M.-T. Torche-Julmy, Mgr Besson et le renouveau de l’art sacré, in: Le Groupe de St-Luc… 1995, as in fn. 11, pp. 9–12. During his twenty-five-year episcopate Fr. Besson dedicated or consecrated a total of 125 churches and chapels (both new and renovated buildings). This took place, as historians point out, in a period of economic crisis (Torche-Julmy 1995, see above, p. 9).

[14] M.-C. Morand, L’art réligieux moderne en terre catholique. Histoire d’un monopole, in: 19–39. La Suisse romande entre les deux guerres, Lausanne 1986, p. 83. In 1875 the church was taken away from Catholics and given back only in 1912 (after the relaxation of the restrictions similar to the German Kulturkampf) which presented an opportunity to renovate it and acquire new furnishings, cf. Rudaz 1998, as in fn. 12, pp. 10–14.

[15] M. Poiatti, Th.-A. Hermanès, A. Casanova, L’église de Saint Paul Grange-Canal, Genève, Berne 2001 (= Guides de monuments suisses SHAS, Série 70, no 696), p. 45.

[16] L. Villars, L’Art religieux en Suisse romande, “L’Artisan liturgique”, 1937, pp. 990–992. In 1937 the question of whether one could speak about the renaissance of sacred art in Romandy received an affirmative answer; its beginning was seen precisely in the construction of the church of St Paul in Grange-Canal and it was emphasised that it was “the first example of the collaboration between artists inspired by a common idea and common faith” (p. 990).

[17] Rudaz 1998, as in fn. 12, pp. 60–88.

[18] On a side note, what took place there was not only the revival of Catholic art, but also in a sense the birth of sacred Protestant art, owing to a Genevese, pastor Ernest Christen, who called for art in Protestant temples, justifying the Protestant need for representative art on theological grounds. In 1918–1930, with help from painter Erich Hermes, he completely changed the interior of the “temple du Carouge”, which was until then “antiseptically” clean, covering its walls from the floor to the ceiling with colourful figurative paintings, installing stained-glass windows, and placing richly carved furniture inside the church. The activity of pastor Christen is a part of the liturgical reform taking place in the Calvinist church in the interwar period and was not an isolated phenomenon. Apart from Hermes, some other Protestant church painters also became famous at that time, Philippe and Paul Robert, Eugène Burnand or Louis Rivier, among others. Cf. D. Gamboni, Route ouverte, route barrée: l’art d’église protestant, in: 19–39. La Suisse romande… 1986, as in fn. 15, pp. 73–81; idem, Louis Rivier (1885–1963et la peinture religieuse en Suisse romande, Lausanne 1985. The reform was not limited at this time to Switzerland and Calvinists, as can be seen in the work of the Protestant painter Rudolf Schäfer, who created exquisite Protestant iconography, where pride of place is taken by the figures of Luther, Dürer and Johann Sebastian Bach, while stylistically he alludes to “Germanic” art of the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance (mostly Grünewald and Dürer). An interesting work on that subject is the monograph on Schäfer by R. von Poser, Rudolf Schäfer. Kirchenausstattungen. Religiöse Malerei zwischen Bibelfrömmigkeit und Pathos, Regensburg 1999 (= Adiaphora. Schriften zur Kunst und Kultur im Protestantismus).

[19] Cingria’s pamphlet was also known in Poland. It was referred to in 1926 by Mieczysław Treter (who also mentioned the writings of J.-K. Huysmans and M. Denis on the decline of church art) in an excursion on the state of church production in Poland and Europe, included in the article on the work (including church art) of Kazimierz Sichulski, cf. M. Treter, Kazimierz Sichulski. (Z powodu wystawy w Tow. Zachęty Sztuk P. w Warszawie), “Sztuki Piękne” 3, 1926/1927, pp. 59–70, esp. pp. 69–70. Also Franciszek Siedlecki knew Cingria’s writings; the fragments of La Décadance… were quoted in his article of 1927, cf. F. Siedlecki, O malarstwie religijnem, in: Polski przewodnik katolicki, vol. I, ed. A. Szymański, Warszawa 1927, pp. 416–417.

[20] In 1924 the group, under the changed name “Société St-Luc”/“Lukasgesellschaft” expanded its activity to the whole of Switzerland; due to misunderstandings in 1932 the association split into two separate ones – the Romance and Germanic ones (which, taking into account the aesthetic differences in the perception of art by both sides, was probably unavoidable). The following part of the article is going to focus on the realizations of the Romance group, mostly in the Fribourg diocese, without considering the issues of church art discussed in the journal “Ars Sacra” published by the association since 1927, or in the exhibitions organized by it.

[21] I. Andrey, La décoration selon St-Luc, in: Le Groupe de St-Luc…1995, as in fn. 11, pp. 33–45; S. Donche Gay, Le vitrail de Poncet à Cingria, in: ibidem, pp. 46–49.

[22] J.-B. Bouvier, Décorateurs et Verriers suisses, “L’Artisan liturgique”, 1932, p. 560.

[23] Donche Gay 1995, as in fn. 22, pp. 46–49.

[24] According to what a renowned interwar liturgist, Fr. Konstanty Michalski, wrote: “The art which rather tears away one from the altar than leads to it cannot be called liturgical” (Fr. K. Michalski, Słowo wstępne, in: O polskiej sztuce religijnej, ed. J. Langman, Katowice 1932, pp. 9–10).

[25] The opinion of a critic who described Dumas’s churches in the following words is illustrative here: “Hardly rising above the low meadows, vineyards or the black ravine, they merge with the landscape as if they had been there forever. They do not need at all the patina to blend in with their surroundings. Wide at the base, with two Romanesque-Gothic motifs adapted with unerring instinct to the popular elements of original architecture; right from the first month they look as if they had been placed there for eternity” (P. Deslandes, L’Église de Finhaut en Valais (Suisse). Les reflexions d’un simple homme, “L’Artisan liturgique”, 1932, p. 568).

[26] Allenspach 1998, as in fn. 13, p. 2.

[27] Lauper 1995, as in fn. 13, p. 28; R. Hess, Bau und Ausstattung der St. Antonius-Kirche, Basel, “Die christliche Kunst” 26, 1929/1930, pp. 256–264.

[28] A. Lauper, L’Église de SemsalesÀ propos de l’architecture: le leurre ou l’écrin?, “Pro Fribourg”, no. 117 (nov.) 1997 (= Repères Fribourgeois, 9), pp. 70–72.

[29] This is only a mere supposition, based on the direct observation of the discussed objects more than a decade ago; drawing any definitive conclusions on the subject would require at least rudimentary knowledge of sociology and the changes taking place in this field in the Swiss countryside and the Church there, which remains outside the scope of the present article.

[30] L. Villars, L’Église de Fontenais (Jura bernois), “L’Artisan liturgique”, 1937, p. 984.

[31] This is only a selection of the most interesting realizations. All the data quoted after Morand 1986, as in fn. 15, pp. 85–86; the most comprehensive lists of the group’s works can be found in: Les principales réalisations du Groupe de St-Luc 1920–1945, in: Le Groupe de St-Luc… 1995, as in fn. 11, pp. 54–56; L’architecture religieuse de Fernand Dumas, in: Le Groupe de St-Luc…1995, as in fn. 11, pp. 57–60.

[32] F. Fosca, Emilio Maria Beretta, Neuchâtel 1947 (= L’Art religieux en Suisse romande, 9); E. Agustoni, L’opera religiosa di Emilio Maria Beretta (1907–1974in terra romanda, “Unsere Kunstdenkmäler” 38, 1987, no. 2, pp. 284–291.

[33] H. Ferrare, Jean-Louis Gampert, Neuchâtel 1937 (= L’Art religieux en Suisse romande, 3).

[34] M. Zermatten, Paul Monnier. Peintre, Neuchâtel 1938 (= L’Art religieux en Suisse romande, 5).

[35] F. de Diesbach, Gaston Faravel, Neuchâtel 1939 (= L’Art religieux en Suisse romande, 7).

[36] Théophile Robert. Peintre religieux, introduction et opinions sur Théophile Robert par Mgr. Besson, J.B. Bouvier et Alexandre Cingria complétées d’une lettre préface à la collection l’Art religieux en Suisse Romande de G. de Reynold, Neuchâtel 1937 (= L’Art religieux en Suisse romande, 1).

[37] Morand 1986, as in fn. 15, p. 86.

[38] Gino Severini. Affreschi, mosaici, decorazioni monumentali 1921–1941, ed. F. Benzi, exhibition catalogue Rome, Galleria Arco Farnese, 12 May – 30 June 1992, Roma 1992; F. Benzi, Gino Severini. Le opere monumentali, in: ibidem, pp. 7–26; D. Fonti, Quando il cubismo divienne sacro. Gli affreschi di Gino Severini nelle chiese svizzere, “Art et Dossier”, 1992, no. 68, pp. 26–32; M.-T. Torche-Julmy, Gino Severini à Semsales. Renouveau de l’art religieux en Suisse romande, “Patrimoine Fribourgeois” 2, 1993, pp. 29–32; H. Reiners, Wandmalereien von Gino Severini, “Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration” 64, 1929, pp. 98–104. A long note posted recently on the Internet blog “La letteratura artistica” is a deep and wide-ranging discussion of Severini’s monumental work (mostly in the field of sacred art) showing the indebtedness of the painter’s theories to Cennino Cennini’s Book of the Art, throwing a new light on the artist’s transformation; cf. F. Mazzaferro, Gino Severini e l’arte religiosa in un contesto europeo: l’influenza del Libro dell’Arte di Cennino Cennini. Parte Prima,, Parte Seconda,, Parte Terza [accessed 21 June 2016], the article is also available in English: Gino Severini and the Sacred Art in a European Context: The Influence of Cennini’s Book of the Art, ibidem).

[39] Benzi 1992, as in fn. 39, p. 9; Silver 1989, as in fn. 5, pp. 264–265; J. Laude, La crise de l’humanisme et la fin des utopies. (Sur quelques problèmes de la peinture et de la pensée européennes), in: L’art face à la crise 1929–1939. Actes du quatrième colloque d’Histoire de l’Art contemporain, Saint-Étienne 1980 (= Université de Saint-Étienne, Travaux XXVI), pp. 295–391, esp. pp. 318–319.

[40] G. Severini, Du Cubisme au Classicisme. Esthétique du compas et du nombre, Paris 1921, pp. 13–14, quoted after Silver 1989, as in fn. 5, p. 266. The references to numbers in the context of religious art and a certain kind of mysticism connected Severini with the Benedictine painters of the Beuron School (to whom he referred in his writings), cf. as in fn. 39, Parte Prima.

[41] Severini 1921, as in fn. 41, pp. 14–15, quoted after Silver 1989, as in fn. 5, p. 266.

[42] Benzi 1992, as in fn. 39, p. 11. The friendship was mutual; in 1930 Maritain wrote a short sketch on the artist (J. Maritain, Peintres nouveauxGino Severini, Paris 1930). Severini was very involved, also as a theoretician, in making religious art. He published several articles on the subject, including G. Severini, D’un art pour l’Église, “Nova et Vetera”, 1926, pp. 319–330, as well a discussion of Maritain’s work. The issue of the reciprocal relationship between the painter and the philosopher is analysed in detail by: J. Grace, The Spirit of Collaboration: Gino Severini, Jacques Maritain, Anton Luigi Gajoni and the Roman Mosaicists, “COLLOQUY: Text Theory Critique” 22, 2011, pp. 89–112; interestingly enough, in 2011 the author claimed that the problems discussed by her were still a relatively little known aspect of Severini’s work. As it turns out, the subject, especially Maritain’s influence on the religious art created by avant-garde artists, started to become more popular among scholars; cf. among others Z.M. Jones, Spiritual Crisis and the ‘Call to Order’: The Early Aesthetic Writings of Gino Severini and Jacques Maritain, “Word and Image”, 2010, pp. 59–67; J. Grace, The French Effect: The Enduring Influence of Jacques Maritain’s Christian Avant-gardism on Gino Severini’s Art Journalism and Visual Aesthetic, “Critica d’arte”, 8. Ser., 72, 2010 (2011), no. 43/44, pp. 9–32; cf. also a doctoral dissertation: J. Grace, The Return to Religion: Italian Modernism under the Auspices of French Thomism (1924–1944), University of Melbourne, Department of Art History, School of Culture and Communication, Faculty of Arts, Melbourne 2013 (esp. ch. 3: Order and the Grace of Faith: Jacques Maritain and Gino Severini, pp. 107–179).

[43] Benzi 1992, as in fn. 39, pp. 11–12.

[44] Ibidem, p. 12. The following statement of Maritain is often quoted, not only with regard to Severini’s work: “If you want to produce Christian work, be a Christian and try to make a work of beauty into which you have put your heart; do not adopt a Christian pose” (Art and Scholasticism, London 1930, p. 70, transl. J. F. Scanlan; Art et scolastique, Paris 1927, p. 113).

[45] G. Severini, Peinture murale. Son esthétique et ses moyens, “Nova et Vetera”, 1927, pp. 119–132, reprinted in: La peinture murale, in: G. Severini, Écrits sur l’art (Préface de Serge Fauchereau), Paris 1987 (= “Diagonales”, une collection des Éditions Cercle d’Art), pp. 181–193.

[46] Severini 1927, as in fn. 46, p. 119, fn. 1.

[47] Ibidem, p. 120.

[48] Ibidem, p. 121.

[49] Ibidem, pp. 124–125.

[50] Ibidem, p. 127. It must be observed that Severini reached such conclusions by referring to medieval tradition, among others thanks to his studies on the old treatises on art, also Cennino Cennini’s Libro dell’arte, cf. Mazzaferro, as in fn. 39, passim.

[51] Chiesa di Semsales, 1925–26, in: Gino Severini… 1992, as in fn. 39, s. 35–38; J.-B. Bouvier, La nouvelle église de Semsales, “Nouvelles Étrennes Fribourgeoises”, 1928, pp. 159–180; M.-T. Torche, L’Église de Semsales. Premier exemple de peinture cubiste appliquée à l’art monumental religieux en Suisse romande?, “Pro Fribourg”, no. 117 (nov.) 1997 (= Repères Fribourgeois, 9), pp. 73–78; J. Cassou, Il pittore Gino Severini, “Dedalo. Rassegna d’arte” XII, 1932, vol. III, pp. 881–890.

[52] Chiesa di La Roche, 1927–28, in: Gino Severini… 1992, as in fn. 39, pp. 43–45; J.-B. Bouvier, Décorations de G. Severini à l’église de La Roche, „Nouvelles Étrennes Fribourgeoises”, 1930, s. 161–170.

[53] Chiesa di Tavannes, 1930, in: Gino Severini…1992, as in fn. 39, pp. 54–55; L. Villars, L’Église de Tavannes, “L’Artisan liturgique”, 1937, pp. 994–996. The church designed by Adolphe Guyonnet; the mosaic was not produced correctly according to Severini’s design and for that reason the catalogue of the artist’s monumental works quoted above (Gino Severini… 1992, as in fn. 39) does not include it at all.

[54] Chiesa di S. Pietro a Friburgo, 1932, 1935/1950 c., in: Gino Severini… 1992, as in fn. 39, pp. 56–58; L. Villars, L’Église Saint-Pierre de Fribourg, “L’Artisan liturgique”, 1937, pp. 997–998. Apart from the painted decorations Severini also designed a mosaic there.

[55] Chiesa di Notre Dame du Valentin a Losanna, 1933–34, in: Gino Severini… 1992, as in fn. 39, p. 65; G. di San Lazzaro, L’ultimo affresco di Severini, “Emporium” 81, 1935, pp. 260–263.

[56] In 1932 Jean Verdier, Archbishop of Paris, inaugurated a programme of building churches for working-class people living in increasingly crowded suburbs, deprived of pastoral care and easy access to churches. The action resulted in over one hundred suburban churches built in less than ten years; J. Pichard, Témoignage de notre temps. Promenade à travers les Chantiers du Cardinal, “Art Sacré” 2, 1936, no. 1, pp. 18–28. In 1936 the ninety-fifth building was opened; the one-hundredth realization was the Pontifical Pavilion at the International Exhibition of Art and Technology in 1937; E. Bréon, L’Art Sacré s’expose 1925–1931–1937, in: L’Art Sacré… 1993, as in fn. 10, pp. 87–88.

The full text of the article was published in the pages of "Sacrum et Decorum" . Please send your orders to the University of Rzeszów Publishers or activate an electronic subscription.