Tag Archives: John Hogan

An awesome and beautiful work of art

ARCHIVAL MOMENT
March 9, 1855

The Redeemer in Death, Basilica Cathedral, St. John's.

The Redeemer in Death, Basilica Cathedral, St. John’s.

Edward Morris a St. John’s businessman and politician in his diary dated March 9, 1855 wrote:

“went to the Cathedral (now the Basilica) to see Hogan’s sculptured ‘Dead Christ’ which was placed today under the Great Altar. A magnificent piece of art ordered by Dr. Fleming , (Bishop Michael Anthony Fleming) before his death. It cost 600 ponds sterling in Rome besides the expense of freight.”

“The Dead Christ” – was sculpted in Carrara marble by the Irish sculptor John Hogan in 1854. Bishop John Thomas Mullock, on one of his visits to Rome, purchased the statue and had it placed beneath the table of the High Altar on March 9, 1855.

Since it was installed in the Basilica it has twice been moved to new locations, first in 1903 when the Sanctuary was expanded and again in the early 1970’s when it was moved to its present position.

The statue is Hogan’s masterpiece. One observer of the statue wrote:

“It is an awesome and beautiful work of art, full of dignity, and conveying a sense of the serenity which follows the acceptance of God’s will and the peace which is a prelude to the glory of the Resurrection.”

Hogan created two other versions of the statue; the first version (1829) is located in St. Therese’s Church, Dublin, Ireland, the second (1833) in St. Finbarr’s (South) Church, Cork, Ireland. Other works by Hogan include the Sleeping Shepherd and The Drunken Faun. Hogan assured his international reputation in 1829 with The Dead Christ; thereafter, his creations were snapped up by Irish bishops visiting his Rome studio.

Hogan was recognized by by his fellow artist, he  was pronounced by the Danish sculptor Bertel Thorwaldsen as “the best sculptor I leave after me in Rome.”

Hogan was a great supporter of the Irish movement for independence and went on to create a marble statue of Daniel O Connell, an important figure in the movement. The statue stands today at City Hall Dublin, the same spot where O’Connell gave his first speech against the Act of Union in 1800.

Hogan died at his home in Dublin, in 1858.
Recommended Archival Collection: Edward Morris Diaries, Archives of the Roman Catholic  Archdiocese of St. John’s, NL.

Recommended ReadingA full account of Hogan’s life and works, with a catalogue raisonée and bibliography, is given by John Turpin in John Hogan: Irish Neoclassical Sculptor in Rome (Irish Academic Press, 1982).

Recommedned Tour: Visit the  Basilica Cathedral in St. John’s  and enjoy the large collection of art work that adorns the building. The Basilica Cathedral is home to art created by internationally celebrated artists like John Hogan, Edward Carew, Louis Koch, and Gerry Squires.  If you were visting another city you would likely visit the Cathedrals and museums, why not do it in your own city!

 

Was the Bishop Excommunicated?

 ARCHIVAL MOMENT

January 26, 1816

Bishop Michael Fleming giving the last rites of the church to Bishop Thomas Scallan.

On January 26, 1816 the talk in St. John’s was all about the appointment of a Father Thomas Scallan, (also Scallon) who was given the nod to succeed as the new Catholic bishop in Newfoundland.    

Scallan was very well educated; in his career he had been a lecturer in philosophy at the prestigious St Isidore’s College, Rome and a professor of classics at the Franciscan Academy at Wexford, Ireland, a preparatory seminary for candidates for the priesthood.

What is most telling about his tenure as Bishop of Newfoundland is the memorial or relief that was established in the Roman Catholic Cathedral (now Basilica) to celebrate his work in Newfoundland.

Scallan in his relationship with the leaders of other denominations was considered to be far ahead of his time. His ecumenical spirit in fact stirred occasional and considerable controversy.

Indeed, Bishop Michael Francis Howley from St. John’s, attributed such ecumenism to a mental weakness. He stated flatly in his Ecclesiastical History of Newfoundland (1888)  that Scallan was reprimanded  by Rome for his ecumenical spirit.  He did not identify the type of reprimand  but the most severe censure or reprimand in the Catholic Church is excommunication.

Indeed, this story that he was reprimanded by Rome became  generally accepted – and was compounded by the story that he was refused the last rites of the church.  To quiet the rumors that he was on the verge of excommunication and or perhaps even excommunicated the local church authorities ordered the creation of an  unusual monument of Scallan by the famous Irish sculptor John Hogan.  

The monument  depicts Scallan on his deathbed receiving the last sacraments (last rites) of the church. It was placed  in the Basilica to show his reconciliation with the church.

 Recommended Archival Collection :  Archives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese

Recommended Reading: Michael Francis Howley’s Ecclesiastical history of Newfoundland . 1888:  was reprinted atBelleville, Ont., in 1979.