Vic­to­ri­ous Christ

1939, this cast 1978, Bronze

Deter­mined that this cru­ci­fix for the Main Altar at St. Cecilia Cathe­dral should be his supreme achieve­ment, Polasek devoted a large part of 1939 in mak­ing sketch after sketch in plas­ti­lene clay. One of these stud­ies, upon which he had worked for many weeks, he had cast in plas­ter – only to dis­card it as sta­tic and unin­spired. And then sud­denly, he found what he wanted. Start­ing a new model one morn­ing, he fin­ished it in a day: the fig­ure almost seemed to make itself. There is no sug­ges­tion of defeat in this fig­ure. It shows the dying Christ at the moment of his utter­ance, “Father, for­give them, for they know not what they do!” The head is uplifted, the whole fig­ure vibrant and alight with the tri­umph of the spirit over suf­fer­ing and death.

 

Shep­herds and Angel

ca. 1960, Oil on canvas

With a palette likened to that of Max­field Par­rish, Polasek’s sim­ple paint­ing is a time­less hol­i­day image inspired by the New Testament’s Book of Luke. “And there were shep­herds liv­ing out in the fields nearby, keep­ing watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were ter­ri­fied. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the peo­ple. Today in the town of David a Sav­ior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. – Luke 2:8 – 11 (NIV)”