Charles D. Maginnis Brings Arts and Crafts to Catholic Art
Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA
Charles D. Maginnis (1867-1955), recipient of the AIA Gold Medal for Achievement in 1948, was the foremost architect and designer for the Roman Catholic Church in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century. Maginnis's fundamental principle of ecclesiastical design was the effective creation of dignity and repose in a sacred space. To achieve this feeling of dignity Maginnis based both his design work and theoretical writing on the principles of the Arts and Crafts Movement. In an article published in 1897 Maginnis laid the foundation for his ideas on liturgical arts and founded his own firm of Maginnis, Walsh and Sullivan in 1898 in Boston.
Deeply rooted in the Arts and Crafts traditions and the writings of Ruskin and Pugin, Maginnis's conception of ecclesiastical vitality was based on a belief in the importance of the talent of individual craftsmen. He played an important role in the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts, was a founding member of the Catholic Federation of Arts as well as founding member and first President, in 1928, of the Liturgical Arts Society. Throughout his career, Maginnis worked with master craftsmen of international repute.
To the good fortune of the Church, Maginnis was surrounded by church leaders who not only supported his design philosophy and aggressively sponsored art, but also advocated a revival of medieval styles and crafts. This presentation will look at significant commissions in the Midwest, such as St. Joseph and Holy Angels parish churches in Ohio.