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)”