''No one, I believe, in 1,500 years of Christian monachism has catalogued, defined
and described so clearly or so beautifully the business of the monastic life.
No writer, no sculptor, no painter, no architect has refined a distillation so pure,
so accurate, so breathtakingly clear as Roseman has done.''
Stanley Roseman embarked in 1978 on what the Los Angeles Times praises as ''a sweeping artistic project.'' The artist was invited to live in Benedictine, Cistercian, Trappist, and Carthusian monasteries and to share in the day-to-day life in the cloister. Behind the monastery walls, Roseman painted portraits and made drawings of monks and nuns of the four monastic Orders in the Western Church and created a monumental and critically acclaimed oeuvre on the monastic, or contemplative, life.
"The word 'monk' derives from the Greek monachos, having as its root monos, meaning 'one' or 'singular,' 'alone' or 'apart from.' The monastic life, which reaches back to the Early Church, centers on contemplation, prayer, and the celebration of the Divine Office in observing the Biblical calls to prayer stated by the Prophet in the Book of Psalms: 'I rise to praise you at midnight, O Lord,' and 'Seven times a day I praise you.'
Roseman's ecumenical work, brought to realization in the enlightenment of Vatican II, depicts monks and nuns of the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran faiths. Roseman created his work in over sixty monasteries throughout England, Ireland, and Continental Europe. The artist writes: ''When I began researching and planning my work on the monastic life, my thoughts were towards Europe for monastic life is interwoven with the history and culture of Europe. . . ."
"C. H. Lawrence, Professor of Medieval History, writes: 'The order of mendicant friars which appeared early in the thirteenth century represented a new departure, a radical breakaway from the monastic tradition of the past. . . . Preaching and ministering to the people was the raison d'être. . . . Unlike the monk, who is bound to the house of his profession, the friar is mobile.'
"The Benedictine monk and historian Dom David Knowles, relating the origins of the Mendicant Orders, writes of St. Francis and St. Dominic: 'Between them they created a new kind of devotee, the friar, whose aim was not solitude or seclusion from the world and whose occupation was not primarily liturgical worship, but who went up and down the ways of men calling them to the following of Christ and preaching to them Christian doctrine.'
"The different religious orders were established for different reasons," Roseman states, "and those distinctions should be respected in writing of them. It is incorrect to refer to a 'Dominican monk,' 'Carmelite monk,' or 'Franciscan monk.' The correct terminology is 'Dominican friar,' 'Carmelite friar,' and 'Franciscan friar.' Professor Wolfgang Braunfels, Director of the Art History Department of Munich University, states: 'The Franciscans did not want to be monks, they never tried to withdraw from the world into monasteries. . . . Nonetheless St Francis was willing to be tonsured, denoting that he was, if not a monk, then still a cleric.' "
"The Order of St. Benedict, or Benedictine Order, is named for the Italian abbot Benedict of Nursia (c.480-c.547), who compiled a rule for communal life in a monastery. The Rule of St. Benedict, which consists of a prologue and seventy-three short chapters, provides spiritual guidance and valuable instructions for maintaining a daily monastic routine of communal worship at the Divine Office, personal prayer, work, and study. Over the following centuries, a growing number of monasteries observing different monastic rules adopted the Rule of St. Benedict.
"The Order of Canons Regular gave rise in the twelfth century to the Order of Prémontré, or Premonstratensians, founded by St. Norbert (c.1080-1134), a former canon of the Xanten Cathedral. He established a community of religious at Prémontré, near Laon, in northern France. 'According to the narrative of the foundation,' explains Professor C. W. Lawrence, University of London, 'on Christmas Day 1121 the group took vows to live 'according to the Gospels and the sayings of the apostles and the plan of St. Augustine.' The religious wore habits of unbleached wool and were known as the 'White Canons.' "
"In a drawing or painting where an anonymous, distant figure wears a habit that is summarily indicated and who, for example, is depicted in a generalized setting, such as a woodland or unidentified interior, the term 'male religious' would be prudent in titling the work and in describing the picture's subject matter.
"During the following centuries, Carthusian monasteries, called in English 'charterhouses', were founded in many parts of Europe. By comparison with the great expansion of the Benedictine and Cistercian Orders, the Carthusian Order remained relatively small due to the seclusion and austerity of the life of the hermit monks. Today, Carthusian monasteries number twenty-three worldwide.
"Carthusian monks live in solitude in hermitages connected to a cloister that leads to the monastery church. The monks assemble in choir for conventual Mass in the mornings, for Vespers in the late afternoons, and for the long night Office of Vigils, which in the Carthusian horarium is combined with the Office of Lauds. The Offices of Prime, Terce, Sext, None, and Compline are observed by the monks in their respective hermitages, where they meditate and pray; take their meals; work, study, and sleep, to be woken after midnight by the monastery bell calling the community for Vigils."
1. The Oxford scholar and Benedictine monk Dom Bernard Green read a draft of Roseman's manuscript and wrote in a gracious letter
to the artist: "You portray the background and the aims of life in monasteries so well, showing such a deep understanding of the monastic life.''
2. Louis J. Lekai, The Cistercians (Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1977), pp. 11, 13.
3. Ibid., pp. 188, 189.
4. André Ravier, St. Bruno the Carthusian (San Francisco, Ignatius Press, 1995), pp. 11-14, 77.
5. R. W. Southern, Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1982), p. 241.
6. C. H. Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism (London: Longman, 1984), p. 142.
7. Ibid., p. 192.
8. David Knowles, Christian Monasticism (London: Thames and Hudson, 1969), pp. 115, 116.
9. Southern, Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages, pp. 286, 287.
10. C. W. Previté-Orton, The Shorter Cambridge Medieval History, 2 vol. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1952), vol. II, p. 675.
11. Ibid., vol. I, p. 631.
12. Southern, Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages, p. 1.
13. Wolfgang Braunfels, Monasteries of Western Europe-The Architecture of the Orders (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972), p. 129.
"If the identification of a male figure wearing a religious habit is uncertain in a drawing or painting," Roseman further states, "it would be prudent to identify the figure as 'male religious.' Certain attributes or symbols help clarify an artist's intention as for the identity of the subject, such as a raven, associated with St. Benedict and the traditional black habit worn by Benedictine monks; or a skull, associated with St. Francis and Franciscan friars, who wear the traditional brown habit with a rope belt.
"By the late thirteenth century, friars had become prominent university teachers. 'Both Dominicans and Franciscans surpassed their secular rivals in the universities,' explains the distinguished Professor C. W. Previté-Orton in his The Shorter Cambridge Medieval History. The two-volume History is a scholarly, general overview of the Cambridge Medieval History and unlike the longer version, includes visual material, such as the illumination seen in fig. 128 with the caption 'Franciscan friar teaching,' from a thirteenth-century manuscript in the University collection.
Dom Henry was acquired in 1986 by the Chief Curator of the Museums of France, François Bergot, for the renowned collection of the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen, of which he was the Director. Davis, whose maternal ancestry is French, had introduced his colleague's work to the Rouen Museum.
"On Wednesday afternoon, Padre Gabriele thoughtfully gave Ronald and me an organ recital that included works by Bach, Schumann, and Vivaldi. In the red-brick, beautiful abbey church that integrates rounded arches of the Romanesque with early Piedmontese Gothic vaulting, Ronald and I sat enthralled listening to the memorable recital by the gifted musician and Cistercian monk.''
St. Hugh's Charterhouse, known as Parkminster, located in the countryside of West Sussex, is the only Carthusian monastery in the British Isles today. The Prior, Dom Bernard, a tall, bespectacled Irishman and former physician in Dublin, graciously received Roseman and Davis at Parkminster in 1983 and invited them to return the following year, which marked the 900th anniversary of the founding of the Carthusian Order.
Brother Augustine, an amiable, bearded Dutchman, is the subject of the impressive portrait drawing in chalks on gray paper of the hooded hermit monk in prayer presented here, (fig. 6). Roseman recalls, "I drew Brother Augustine in choir, and I also drew him in his hermitage, where he kindly invited me for a walk in the beautiful, trellised garden he had designed, built, and cultivated - a meditative outdoor space in the confines of his hermitage.''
Portrait of a Carthusian Monk in Prayer and an equally fine portrait of Brother Augustine, also from the Order's ninth centenary year, are conserved in the Teyler Museum, the Netherlands. The museum houses a renowned collection of Italian Renaissance master drawings, including works by Michelangelo and Raphael, and the Seventeenth-Century Dutch School, notably drawings by Rembrandt.
Father Ian, Portrait of a Trappist Monk in Meditation is conserved in the Musée Ingres, Montauban, whose collection originated with an important bequest by Ingres (1780-1867) of his paintings and drawings, as well as works by Italian and French old masters, to his hometown. The Museum's collection has since been augmented with works of modern art.
1998 commemorated the 900th anniversary of the Cistercian Order. That year Roseman drew the Cistercian monks at the Abbey of Chiaravalle, situated on the periphery of Milan. Chiaravalle, founded in 1135, derives its name from its motherhouse in France, the Abbey of Clairvaux, of which St. Bernard was the first abbot.