Masterpiece marks 200 years of Catholic Education

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The Bicentennial Madonna and Child with Saints and Angels by De La Salle College Cronulla students
The Bicentennial Madonna and Child with Saints and Angels by De La Salle College Cronulla students. Photo: supplied.

A three-piece artwork created by students to mark 200 years of Catholic education in Australia has received an official welcome at De La Salle College Cronulla and an official blessing by Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Sydney, Terry Brady.

Inspired by traditional early Renaissance artists including the Dominican saint, Fra Angelico, and depicting the patrons of the parish, the colourful artwork called The Bicentennial Madonna and Child with Saints and Angels now has pride-of-place in the school.

Mary Help of Christians, St Aloysius Gonzaga and St Mary of the Cross MacKillop are featured along with St John Baptist de La Salle and the Venerable Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy.

Led by talented art students Sean Maquiran, winner of last year’s Br Kelvin Canavan Art Prize and Scarlett Mandich, winner of last year’s Young Archies portrait prize, the altar piece took over 12 months to complete and contains many layers of paint, lots of detailing and a considerable area of gold leaf, a technique taught to the budding young artists by a former student.

College principal Stephen Mahoney said he was very proud of the artwork, which was part of an ongoing project to produce religious artworks for the school and parish to reinforce its Catholic identity.

“THE VISUAL CULTURE WE TAKE FOR GRANTED TODAY WAS FORMED IN THE STUDIOS OF THE ARTISTS WHO WERE PATRONISED BY THE CHURCH”

“Visitors to functions at our school will be greeted by a strong statement of our Catholic beliefs and the pride we take in being part of two hundred years of Catholic Schooling,” he said.

“It is also an acknowledgement of the contribution of the Sisters of Mercy and the De La Salle Brothers who were the founders of Catholic Education in our part of Sydney.”

Art teacher Byron Hurst said the three-piece artwork was a fitting reminder of the origin and beauty of our faith.

“The visual culture we take for granted today was formed in the studios of the artists who were patronised by the Church,” he said.

“I have spent many hours in galleries and churches studying it and try to share my enthusiasm for it with my students.

“What better way is there to motivate and educate young people than by giving hands on experience?”

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