The Contribution of Artist Bill Angresano to the World of Carmelite Art
Originally published in The Sword magazine, volume 73, n. 1, 2013




















The Art of Bill Angresano
1) The Story of "The Standard Bearer for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel"
2) The Painting of the Prophet "Elijah"
3) The Painting "Our Lady of Mount Carmel"
4) The Anatomy of a Painting
5) The Artist, Bill Angresano


Although not renown for its contribution to the art world, the Carmelite Order has produced a few of its own artists. One immediately thinks of Fra Filippo Lippi of the Florence monastery and his paintings that graced various churches and a cathedral in Italy.

But the Order has also been blessed with gifts of art from some wealthy patrons. Some Carmelite churches throughout Europe contain artwork from royal patrons as well as wealthy families or individuals wishing to ease their way into divine favor and provide spiritual nourishment for the people.

Much ink has been used describing the Brancaccio chapel in the Carmine in Florence. Sometimes called the "Sisting chapel of the early Renaissance," the paintings, a gift of the patron Felice Brancacci, were entrusted to Masolino da Panicale and then to Masaccio. Considered revolutionary for Masassio's use of perspective, unified lighting, and chiaroscuro the paintings prompted many artists, including a young Michelangelo, to visit.

Sometimes the art celebrates a key event in the history of the Order or of the local Carmelite community. It was and still is a way of teaching about the events in our history and making sure they will not be forgotten. The ceiling of the cloister walk of the monastery in Krakow, Polad, tells the story of the gift of the property to the Carmelites by Poland's Queen-Saint Jadwiga.

The Our Lady of Piasek icon, painted by the end of the 15th century allegedly with the features of St. Jadwiga, is a popular stop for pilgrims and perhaps the most admired among the historic paintings in Krakow.

Tradition holds that it was a pious monk, after only beginning the fresco, found his work miraculously finished overnight and glowing with an unworldly light that gathered a crowd of bewildered spectators.

Occassionally an individual Carmelite or an aspect of Carmelite life was singled our as the subject of some artist. Consider the works of Francisco Zurbarán who captured both St. Cyril of Constantinople, a reputed prior general and prior of the hermits on Mount Carmel, and St. Peter Thomas, a Carmelite, bishop, patriarch, and papal diplomat.

These paintings now hang in a Boston, USA., museum, but originally hung in the Casa San Alberto in Seville, Spain.

The development of Carmelite art is not just from the Middle Ages. The creation of Carmelite art continues today-- statues, stained glass windows, monuments, visual interpretations, buildings, and paintings.

We present the story here of one such artist, Bill Angresano. Mr. Angresano and his family are members of the Carmelite parish, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in Tenafly, New Jersey. .