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Monastic Journey
Continued

Stanley Roseman
The
MONASTIC LIFE
Padre Valeriano,
Portrait of  a Trappist Monk in Prayer
, 1998
Monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña, Spain
Chalks on paper,  50 x 35 cm
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
MONASTERIES in OLD CASTILE
6. The Monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña, Castile, 1998.
2. The Romanesque, two-storied cloister of Silos,
in the province of Castile.
The Benedictine Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos
     In early November 1998, Abbot Clemente Serna Gonzalez, with great encouragement of Roseman's work, warmly welcomed back the artist and his colleague Ronald Davis to the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos.
3. Detail of capitals in the Romanesque cloister of Silos.
The Trappist Monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña
and the 900th Anniversary of the Founding of the Cistercian Order, 1098 - 1998
4. Fray Javier singing the Psalms,
1998, Santo Domingo de Silos, Spain
Chalks on paper,  50 x 35 cm
Collection of the artist
© Stanley Roseman and Ronald Davis - All Rights Reserved
Visual imagery and website content may not be reproduced in any form whatsoever.
The ancient province of Castile, in northern Spain, has a long and eventful monastic history whose origins are traditionally dated in the Visigothic period. From the Middle Ages, the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos, located in the Tabladillo Valley in the great Castilian plain, and the Monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña, secluded in a valley some twelve kilometers southeast of Burgos, became important centers of monastic life.
     Roseman's work on the monastic life brought him to Silos and San Pedro de Cardeña in the summer of 1979 and again on a return to the monasteries in the autumn of 1998. "With a seriousness that pushes him always further in treating a subject or theme,'' writes the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in a biographical essay on Roseman, "he continually clarifies and refines, never letting his interest waiver or diminish.''[1]
     Gregorian chant, a reverential musical expression associated with singing the Psalms, developed mainly in the context of monastic life in the early Middle Ages. Silos today is a member of the international Benedictine Congregation of Solesmes, whose motherhouse the Abbey of Solesmes, in France, has been engaged since the second half of the nineteenth century in the study and restoration of Gregorian chant. The monks at Silos, as at Solesmes, present Gregorian chant in a modern religious context of prayer and devotion to God.
     A monastery dedicated to St. Sebastian existed at Silos in Visigothic times. The monastery eventually took the name Santo Domingo after the saintly eleventh-century Abbot Domingo of Rioja under whose thirty-three-year tenure was begun the building of the remarkable, two-storied Romanesque cloister, (fig. 2).
     Writing on monastic life and his work in monasteries, Roseman speaks about monastic contributions to European culture: "Romanesque architecture and art developed with the building of monasteries through the Carolingian Age and the Twelfth-Century Renaissance.[2] As the distinguished Professor of Architecture Kenneth John Conant states: 'The impulse for novel architectural development came chiefly from the monasteries. . . .'[3]   
    "The splendid cloister of Silos, with marvelous capitals and a series of bas-reliefs depicting scenes from the Bible, is built on two levels. The lower cloister, begun in the second half of the eleventh century, has fourteen rounded arches in the east and west galleries and sixteen in the north and south galleries. The upper cloister, dating from the late twelfth century, is similar in architecture to the cloister below.
    "The rows of slender, paired columns are surmounted by capitals with an array of Biblical figures; animals; birds; mythological creatures; foliage, including acanthus and ferns; and pine cones," (fig. 3).
     1998 commemorated the 900th anniversary of the Cistercian Order, which is dated from the founding of the Abbey of Cîteaux, in Burgundy, in 1098. Cistercian monasticism today comprises two branches: the Order of Cistercians of the Common Observance and the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, also known familiarly as the Trappist Order. Trappist monasticism developed from a seventeenth-century reform movement centered at the Abbey of La Trappe, in Normandy.
     In that ninth centenary year, Roseman received a cordial letter from Abbot Marcos García inviting him and Davis to return to San Pedro de Cardeña. Abbot Marcos writes: "I am happy to welcome you and Ronald to the Monastery, and your return will bring back memories of the days you were here several years ago. Cordial greetings.'' The suite of Roseman's drawings from that time includes the beautiful portrait of an elderly monk, Padre Hipólito. The drawing was acquired by John Davis Hatch, the distinguished American collector of drawings and co-founder of Master Drawings Association.[5]
     The Monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña was founded by Benedictines in the ninth century, or perhaps a century earlier as there are no extent documents for verification of the precise date. The monastery, like its Castilian neighbor Santo Domingo de Silos, became an important spiritual and cultural center.
12. Padre Valeriano,
Portrait of a Trappist Monk
in Prayer
, 1998
San Pedro de Cardeña, Spain
Chalks on paper,  50 x 35 cm
Victoria and Albert Museum,
London
     "The ensemble of beautifully carved bas-reliefs on the piers of the cloister of Santo Domingo de Silos and the cloister's column capitals exemplify the wonderful imagery and skilled craftsmanship of Romanesque art."
     At San Pedro de Cardeña in mid-November 1998, Abbot Marcos, a kindly man in his late fifties, heartily welcomed Roseman and Davis. The Abbot was a gracious host to the artist and his colleague and greatly encouraged their ongoing work in the monasteries. Abbot Marcos invited Roseman and Davis to spend Christmas with the Community, which the artist and his colleague gratefully accepted. That thoughtful invitation gave Roseman the opportunity to draw the monks at Midnight Mass and at the Divine Office on Christmas day.
Drawing by Stanley Roseman, “Fray Javier singing the Psalms,” 1998, Santo Domingo de Silos, Spain, Chalks on paper, Private collection, Switzerland. © Stanley Roseman.
      The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, conserves the magnificent drawing Padre Valeriano, Portrait of a Trappist Monk in Prayer, (fig. 12).
1. Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris - Drawings on the Dance at the Paris Opéra (text in French and English),
    (Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 1996), p. 10.
2. 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.''
3. Kenneth John Conant, Carolingian and Romanesque Architecture 800-1200, (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, Ltd,   
    1973), p. 3.
4. The Rule of St. Benedict English translations by Abbot David Parry,
O.S.B., Households of God, (London: Darton, Longman &Todd, 1980),
    and Abbot Patrick Barry,
O.S.B., St. Benedict's Rule, (Ampleforth Abbey Press, 1997).
5. John Davis Hatch, the distinguished American collector of drawings writes to Ronald Davis in acquiring three drawings by Roseman
    on the monastic life: ''I very much appreciate Stanley's allowing me to have them - as they are great additions to my drawing collection.''
6. Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris, pp. 11, 12.
7. Poem of the Cid, Introduction and Notes by Ian Michael, (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1984) pp. 2, 7, 8.
8. Francis Ames-Lewis, Drawing in Early Renaissance Italy, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982), p. 12.
     "Chapter 19 on the discipline of singing the Psalms states: 'We should therefore always be mindful of the Prophet's words, 'Serve the Lord with fear' and 'Sing praises wisely. . . .' St. Benedict in his Rule instructs that as the Psalms are sung in the presence of God, they are to be sung in such a way that 'there is complete harmony between the thoughts in our minds and the meaning of the words we sing.' ''[4]  
© Stanley Roseman
6. Travels to Sweden and Denmark
3. Historic Regions of Monasticism
      in Bavaria and Swabia
Monastic Journey Continued
On the bottom of this page are links to the other pages.
2. Returning to the Netherlands
7. Convents in Piedmont
      and Tuscany
1. A Painting Studio
      at the Abbey of La Trappe
8. Monasteries in Old Castile
4. Returning to England
5. Sojourns in Belgium
     Monastic Journey Continued
Page 8 - Monasteries in Old Castile
Drawing by Stanley Roseman, "Portrait of Padre Ramón," 1998, Santo Domingo de Silos, Spain, chalks on paper, Private collection, Switzerland. © Stanley Roseman.
Drawing by Stanley Roseman, "Brother Luis in Prayer," 1998, Abbey of San Pedro de Cardeña, Spain, chalks on paper, Private collection, Switzerland. © Stanley Roseman.
Drawing by Stanley Roseman, "Brother Luis kneeling in Prayer," 1998, Abbey of San Pedro de Cardeña, Spain, bistre chalk on paper, Private collection, Belgium. © Stanley Roseman.
5. Portrait of Padre Ramón, 1998
Santo Domingo de Silos, Spain
Chalks on paper, 50 x 35 cm
Private collection, Switzerland
7. Brother Luis in Prayer, 1998
San Pedro de Cardeña, Spain
Chalks on paper,  50 x 35 cm
Private collection, Switzerland
8. Brother Luis
kneeling in Prayer
, 1998
San Pedro de Cardeña, Spain
Bistre chalk on paper,  50 x 35 cm
Private collection, Belgium
     In reference to the ancient Judeo-Christian tradition of Psalmody in monastic life, Roseman writes in his text: "The canonical hours, called the Divine Office, are founded on singing the Psalms. . . .
    "The Prophet states in the Book of Psalms, 'At midnight I rise to praise you, O Lord' and 'Seven times a day I praise you.' The Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 16, quotes the Prophet's call to prayer and affirms that 'this sacred number of seven' will be fulfilled by observing the seven daily offices as well as Vigils in the night.
The Contemplative Life
     The Bibliothèque Nationale de France praises Roseman for his "great talents as a draughtsman" and states that the artist's work in monasteries is "profoundly expressive of the individual and the interior life.''[6]
     The Abbot and the Community's enthusiasm for Roseman's work made for a memorable sojourn and an enriching experience.
     The monastic, or contemplative life, is centered on observing the Divine Office and singing the Psalms. Roseman writes of his sojourn at the monastery: "During the wintery months at San Pedro de Cardeña, the Romanesque church was utilized only on Sundays. On other days, for the daily Offices and for Vigils, the monks assembled in the chapel of the monastery. Abbot Marcos invited Ronald and me to attend the Offices with the Community, and I appreciated that opportunity to draw the monks in the intimacy of their chapel.''
Prayer and Meditation
     In the mid-twentieth century, following the suppression of Spanish monasteries in the adverse political climate in Spain in the preceding century, monastic life was re-established at San Pedro de Cardeña by Trappist monks.
     Roseman recounts: "Brother Roberto kindly explained to me the etymology of the name 'Cardeña,' which derives from the Spanish 'el cardo,' meaning 'thistle,' and 'eña,' meaning 'place' or 'area' Thus 'Cardeña' is 'a place where thistles grow.' The monastery emblem displays a star-like configuration of three branching thistles and two crossed keys signifying St. Peter. The thistle is a notable, armorial insignia and is, for example, the symbol of Scotland and the symbol of Lorraine. At San Pedro de Cardeña thistles grow in the fields around the monastery, where I made several landscape drawings. I also made a drawing of thistles for a Christmas card that Ronald and I gave to Abbot Marcos and the Community."
     As Roseman notes in his text: "monastic life is interwoven with the history and culture of Europe." The artist writes: "San Pedro de Cardeña is associated with the life of the eleventh-century military hero Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, called El Cid, as recounted in the famous epic Poem of the Cid. The monastery appears prominently in the narrative. Scholarly opinion suggests that the Poem of the Cid, which dates from the early thirteenth century, may have been written at San Pedro de Cardeña."[7]
9. The Romanesque cloister of San Pedro de Cardeña, in the province of Castile.
The Art of Drawing
     Roseman's dedication to drawing is consistent with the importance that Giorgio Vasari placed on drawing as the foundation of the visual arts. The celebrated sixteenth-century Florentine biographer of Lives of the Artists prized drawings for their inherent value and was the first great collector of drawings.[8]
 ''The pictures - splendid and telling all at once - form the stimulating vanguard
towards so original and deep a study of the monastic life.''

- ARA arte religioso actual, Madrid
The respected art journal ARA arte religioso actual, Madrid, states in its laudatory reportage
''Stanley Roseman y la Vida Monastica"

     (See also "Monastic Orders, Page 3 - "Cistercians and Trappists," which presents Brother Estaban carrying feed to the Livestock, 1979, San Pedro de Cardeña. See "Biography," Page 8 - "Landscapes," with the drawing Birches on a Hillside near the Abbey of San Pedro de Cardeña, 1998.)
Drawing by Stanley Roseman, “Trappists Monks in Choir,” 1998, Abbey of San Pedro de Cardeña, Spain, chalks on paper, collection San Pedro de Cardeña. © Stanley Roseman
11. Trappist Monks in Choir, 1998
San Pedro de Cardeña, Spain
Chalks on paper,  50 x 35 cm
Collection San Pedro de Cardeña
    Roseman recounts: "In gratitude to the Abbot and the Community for their gracious hospitality and appreciation of my work, Ronald and I made a gift of my drawings which included a portrait of the Abbot, as well as drawings of monks in choir at the Divine Office and in personal prayer and meditation.
     Roseman's return to San Pedro de Cardeña in 1998 brought to a close the twentieth year of his work on the monastic life. The artist accompanied the monks to draw them at the daily round of communal prayer and at the Night Office. The artist drew the monks at work, study, and meditation in choir and in their cells. He was invited to accompany the monks into the refectory to draw them taking their meals in silence as is the monastic custom. Roseman's discretion, his pleasant manner, and his benevolent regard endeared him to the Community. During six weeks at the Monastery, Roseman created a series of splendid drawings of the Spanish Trappist monks.
     Roseman's drawing entitled Brother Luis kneeling in Prayer, rendered in bistre chalk on gray paper, is an intimate portrayal of a man of advancing years in prayerful communion with God.
     Roseman drew the present work in a single chalk, bistre. Related drawings by the artist using a single chalk to render a monk in prayer are The Young Hermit Paolo in Choir, 1979, Hermitage of Camaldoli, Tuscany, in the collection of the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique - Art Moderne, Brussels; and A Carthusian Monk at Vigils, 1982, Chartreuse de la Valsainte, Switzerland, in the Musée Ingres, Montauban. Those drawings of a seated figure in red chalk on ochre paper and of a standing figure in bistre chalk on beige paper, respectively, are complemented by the drawing here.
     (See also the related drawings The Young Hermit Paolo in Choir, Hermitage of Camaldoli, and A Carthusian Monk at Vigils, Chartreuse de la Valsainte, on the website pages "Four Monastic Orders of the Western Church'' - Page 1 and Page 5, respectively.)
     Brother Luis, seen in the work above, is also the subject of the eloquent drawing Brother Luis kneeling in Prayer, (fig. 8).
    ''The project is a splendid artistic collection, an historic record of a way of life never seen before on such a scale,'' enthuses Jornal do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, in its Sunday magazine color feature story in 1980 on Roseman's work in the monasteries. "Each drawing is a gem of the first quality and all of them together offer a unique impression of monastic life.'' The feature story includes the portrait drawing Brother Stanislaw, 1978, Tyniec Abbey, Poland, in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro. (See website page "The Monastic Life'' - Page 4 - "Across the Continent to Austria, Hungary, and Poland.'')
     Fray Javier singing the Psalms, (fig. 4), is a superb portrait drawing rendered in a combination of chalks on gray paper. With luminous highlights and warm shading, Roseman conveys a spiritual intensity on the face of the young Benedictine monk, seen here in profile, his head uplifted and eyes closed as he sings the Psalms at the Divine Office.
''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.''

- The Times, London
     1980 commemorated the 1,500th anniversary of the birth of St. Benedict of Nursia, whose Rule is the basis of monastic observance in the Western Church. In that fifteenth-centenary year, The Times, London, published a superlative, full-length page review on Stanley Roseman's work on the monastic life:
San Pedro de Cardeña in Castile
     Brother Luis in Prayer, (fig. 7), is a deeply felt portrait of the octogenarian Trappist monk. Roseman writes: "Observing the monastic precept ora et labora, prayer and work, Brother Luis had worked for many years on the monastery's dairy farm, an important source of income for the Community. Following those years of manual labor on the farm, Brother Luis was appointed doorkeeper. St. Benedict dedicates a chapter of his Rule (Chapter 66) to the doorkeeper and counsels that at the monastery gate should be a wise and kindly man of years who knows how to receive and give messages. The doorkeeper is the intermediary between the monastery and those outside the cloister. Although Brother Luis was in retirement from both demanding jobs and in his eighty-eighth year when I drew him in choir, he was still a vital member of the Community in attending the Divine Office.''
     The present work in which the seated monk fills the composition is rendered with a painterly use of the chalk medium. Blended strokes of white chalk describe the monk's voluminous white cowl, as white as new-fallen snow on the monastery and surrounding woods and fields. With fine detail rendering of the monk's face in profile, the artist complements luminous highlights and warm shading with linear description and tonal passages of white and bistre chalks. Roseman has expressed in this superb drawing a peaceful countenance on the face of Brother Luis, his eyes lowered in reverence and head inclined as he prays.
     St. Benedict in Chapter 4 of his Rule instructs the monk: "Devote yourself often to prayer.'' In addition to the communal worship at the Divine Office, Trappist monks devote extensive time to prayer and meditation.
     In the Renaissance, the human figure was paramount in visual imagery, and in the modern age Roseman's work reflects that primacy. Although drawings have traditionally served as studies for compositions realized in another medium, drawings can be autonomous works of art, as are Roseman's drawings.
     The drawings include a fine portrait of Abbot Marcos, as well as an equally fine drawing of the cantor Padre Jesús, seen in the photograph above. Presented below, (fig. 11), is the artist's impressive drawing Trappist Monks in Choir.
     Presented here from Roseman's drawings at Silos is Portrait of Padre Ramón, (fig. 5). This impressive portrait is composed of bold diagonals with vigorous strokes of black chalk describing the monk's hood and scapular. The strong facial features of the Spanish Benedictine monk are rendered with a sculptural quality in the artist's use of black, white, and bistre chalks, with reserved areas of the gray paper to impart complementary tones of light and shade. Roseman effectively conveys both resoluteness and introspection in this portrait of a man who has made a solemn profession to the monastic life.
     Roseman drew the portrait of Padre Valeriano with white and bistre chalks and touches of black chalk to describe the ascetic, Spanish monk's face, in profile, his head bowed and eyes lowered in reverence to God. The black hood and scapular are drawn with bold contours in black chalk and transparent shading with reserved areas of the gray paper that suggest the sheen of the black material.
     The artist's skillful rendering of light and shade with a single chalk combines a gradation of line with tonal passages to describe the monk kneeling on the floor of the chapel. The monk's hood is lowered to his shoulders; his tunic and scapular, belted at the waist. In this excellent composition with its suggestion of pictorial space, Brother Luis, with head bowed, kneels towards the altar.
Drawing by Stanley Roseman, "Padre Valeriano in Prayer," 1998, Abbey of San Pedro de Cardeña, Spain, chalks on paper, Victoria and Albert Museum, London. © Stanley Roseman.
© Stanley Roseman
© Stanley Roseman
© Stanley Roseman
The Romanesque cloister of San Pedro de Cardeña, Castile, 1998. © Photo by Ronald Davis.
10. From left to right: Stanley Roseman, Brother David,
Padre Jesús, and Abbot Marcos,
Abbey of San Pedro de Cardeña, Burgos, 1998.
     In the photograph here, the monks are making a selection of the artist's work for the monastery.
     Abbot Marcos, responding to a letter from Roseman, writes in September 1999 to thank the artist for saying how much he and Davis enjoy the music cassettes and to reaffirm the Monastery's appreciation for the gift of the drawings.
    "And we are also very grateful for your generosity on having donated a selection of your drawings, which will be a great collection for our Monastery.
    "For my part, I am glad that you enjoy the cassettes of music we sing here at home. Listening to the music will be for you a remembrance of the days that you were with us.
    "I send you and Ronald my affectionate and cordial greetings."
- Abbot Marcos García    
 
San Pedro de Cardeña
     Trappist Monks in Choir is a striking composition with contrasting passages of black and white chalks depicts a young monk who stands facing the altar and an older monk seated in choir, each absorbed in personal prayer and meditation.
    "Abbot Marcos, on behalf of himself and the Community, thoughtfully gave Ronald and me a Christmas present of three cassette recordings of the monks singing Lauds, Vespers, and Compline. The Offices at San Pedro de Cardeña are sung in Spanish, and the cantor Padre Jesús Marrodán composed very beautiful chants for the Psalms.''
Drawing by Stanley Roseman, "Padre Valeriano, Portrait of a Trappist Monk in Prayer," 1998, Abbey of San Pedro de Cardeña, Spain, chalks on paper, Victoria and Albert Museum, London. © Stanley Roseman.
The Romanesque, two-storied Cloister of Silos, in the Provence of Castile. © Photo by Ronald Davis.
Detail of Capitals in the Romanesque Cloister of Silos. © Photo by Ronald Davis.
From left to right: Stanley Roseman, Brother David, Padre Jesús, and Abbot Marcos, Abbey of San Pedro de Cardeña, Burgos, 1998. The monks are making a selection of the artist's work as a gift from Roseman and Davis to the monastery.© Photo by Ronald Davis
The Abbey of San Pedro de Cardeña, Castile, 1998. © Photo by Ronald Davis.
© Stanley Roseman
"O give thanks to the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endures for ever.''
- from Psalm 136, sung at Vespers
     At Silos, Abbot Clemente thoughtfully introduced Roseman and Davis to members of the Community.
     The scriptoria of Santo Domingo de Silos and San Pedro de Cardeña were then flourishing centers of literary and artistic activity and produced, for example, copies of Beatus of Liebana's ''Commentary on the Apocalypse of St. John,'' which are among the most celebrated Spanish illuminated manuscripts.
     Padre Ramón, an amiable man in his early forties, shared with Roseman and Davis a great interest in Romanesque architecture as well as in books. With the Abbot's suggestion, the monk kindly showed the artist and his colleague a number of rare volumes in the library and spoke about the important monastic contributions to book production from the sixth through the twelfth centuries.
     In this dramatic composition, Roseman has created a powerful image of a monk in prayer and a deeply felt portrait of a man of advancing years who has dedicated himself to the monastic life.