Contemporary Michelangelo: “I am like a lay monk”

This young American sculptor created works of stunning beauty, referring to the great Catholic tradition.

When we think of the great sculptors, Michelangelo first comes to mind. No wonder, then, that he inspires great contemporary sculptors such as Christopher Ellis.

“When Christopher Alice thinks of sculpture, he thinks of Michael Angel” – these are the words we hear in a documentary about Catholic craftsmen.

John Marques

The deep faith of the Renaissance artist was manifested in many of his works. Much of Alice’s work is also overtly religious. The artist, from Oregon, sculpted, among other things, the natural form of St. Charles Borromeo, patron saint of bishops, of St. Peter’s Basilica. Charles Borromeo in Montgomery Township, New Jersey.

For Alles, 31, who works in a studio in Poughkeepsie, the connection between faith and art is “absolutely normal”. He says that the artist “is to some extent a lay monk. He lives in the world, but he sees everything in the light of Christ and in the light of this spiritual encounter that he has.”

So who exactly is Christopher Alice? He is a sculptor specializing in figurative and sacred art. His work is really amazing!

Like many great artists, it was shaped by Italian artistic traditions. After attending college for a year, he dropped out of school and began formal training in classical art in Florence, where he helped artist Dony MacManus make a gigantic 16-figure altar for the chapel of the Medical School in Rome.

Christopher Ellis, sculptor, sculptor, artist

John Marques

He continued his practice under the direction of the Polish sculptor Tomas Michtal, from whom he studied large-scale European sculpture and made his first natural figure. He also completed a master’s course in painting with Vitaly Borovich, Head of the Painting Department at the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Christopher receives work orders from all over the United States. This is the full range of orders: from small paintings, through architectural sculptures, to monumental figurative sculptures. His work has been published in the “New York Post”, “The New Standard” and “Catholic New York” as well as in a documentary. masterpieces.

He received the Stanford White Award in the Arts and Crafts category for his sculptural contributions to the canopy recently erected at St. Michael in Manhattan.

Christopher Ellis – contemporary Michelangelo

As if all this were not enough, Alice is the father of triplets.

The artist shares his works on Instagram, where you can see the finished works and those in progress.

We had the opportunity to interview this very talented artist and this is what he told us.

What prompted you to create sacred art?

When it comes to creating culture and art, you have to love something to be able to create something. When it was necessary to decide what kind of art I would do, it was clear that it had to be sacred Catholic art. This does not exclude other subjects for me, but the highest expression of any culture is what is sacred, and in the case of Christian culture is sacred liturgy. All other forms of art and expression in the West stem from mass art.

Christopher Ellis, sculptor, sculptor, artist

John Marques

What is your favorite work subject?

Usually I like to work in clay. It is of course very flexible, easy to work with, easy to change and the watery clay reacts instantly to touch. It’s a very nice way to sculpt. Usually, once shaped in clay, the works are shaped and then cast into bronze or other materials to give their final shape.

If you could sculpt anything, what would your dream project be?

This is a difficult question, there are many things. I would like to make a monumental work depicting Blessed Charles of Austria. It would be a more civic enterprise, but also naturally associated with the Church because it is his blessing. However, the context of such work would be most appropriate in Austria or Hungary.

Do you pray while you work? Can you tell me how prayer affects your creative process?

Ora et labora. Prayer is always an aspect of work, it comes naturally as you progress. I have no special prayer before I start work, except for the morning sacrifice and the appeal for the intercession of the saint. Castor, patron saint of sculptors. While working, I may unconsciously pray. Any thought of a higher rank is prayer.

Is there any scripture or quote from a saint that guides your life?

Recently, Saint Joseph has played an important role in my work. Not only because many of my recent works depict his character, but also because of his example of leadership and fatherhood. As a father, I use his intercession and guidance to guide my family through difficult times and risky life situations. He is also a patron of artisans and workers in general, so he is a particularly strong supporter of my business success.

Marco Caratelli
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
John Paul II of the keys

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