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In Quest of Beauty

In Quest of Beauty

By Dom Willibrord Verkade

306 pp

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About the Book

This book charts the later years of Dom Willibrord Verkade after his entrance as a monk at the Archabbey of Beuron in Germany. Its prequel, Yesterdays of an Artist-Monk, had described his journey from the Dutch Mennonites to the Catholic Church; this sequel takes us from the door of the cloister to Verkade's old age.

Verkade formed a trio with artists Paul Sérusier and Maurice Denis, with whom he shared an aspiration to see a Christian spiritual and symbolic art that would transcend academic realism, imitation, and kitsch. Verkade eventually found his own artistic voice under the influence of the Beuronze school of art founded by Desiderius Lenz, a monk of Beuron. This artistic movement aimed at a renewal of sacred art, inspired by ancient Egyptian, Greek, and early Christian models.

Sometimes on the road, sometimes serving in his monastery, in this volume Verkade tells of meetings with family and old friends, his studying and painting, and his living of the monastic life from novitiate and ordination to his sojourn in Italy working on frescos at Monte Cassino, his assignment in the Holy Land, and his experience of World War I.

The work of a thoughtful and careful observer and a close participant in major artistic schools of the twentieth century, Verkade's two volumes of memoirs were highly popular when first published in the 1930s. Today his experiences meld in a meditative and wistful story of a quest for beauty across borders, languages, and styles, with God as its ultimate end.

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