Hugh Witzmann OSB

Saint John's Abbey and University

Collegeville, Minnesota


The Ancient Art of Bronzes

LectioChrist at the Pillar

... Then the prophet Elijah arose like a flame,
his words burned like a torch ...
The monk reads from Sirach at Mass;
he knows full well
the properties of flame,
how bronze will pour
at 2100 degrees; how best to weld,
to hold the torch.

The monk works patiently.
Two doves, forms like rock,
like wind-scarred lava
rise up in his hands.
His shoes are dusty.

... taken up in a whirlwind of fire,
in a chariot of fiery horses ...
May the sculptures take hold of us,
transforming all we see; and the monk
be taken up
both feet on the ground.

-- Kathleen Norris
    December 1993


Haunted by passion and color
Drawn from mystery and light
Held within brilliance and harmony
The Beauty screams
Born of torment and fire

-- Janine L. Ersfeld

[Abstraction 5]


An ancient metal
bronze four thousand years ago
first used by artists.
Moses raised the bronze serpent
for healing the Israelites.

-- Neal Henry Lawrence OSB 
    23 July 1993

About the Artist

[Ethiopian Crucifix]Father Hugh Witzmann OSB, monk of Saint John's Abbey, sometime teacher of studio art and art history at Saint John's University, earned his MFA in 1963 at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Father Hugh has travelled extensively and studied with master sculptor Elmar Hillebrand, Cologne, Germany, and with art historian Joseph Gutman, Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has been awarded several National Endowment for Humanities Grants, a Fulbright to Italy, and a McPherson. The grants have taken him to Columbia University; Syracuse University; The American Academy in Rome; the Johnson Atelier Institute, Princeton, New Jersey; and the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. He has done further studies in Catalonia, Spain; romanesque sites in France; classical sculpture and the plastic arts in Greece; Egypt; Israel; Turkey and, most recently, India.

[Owl of Athens, bronze]

A sampling of exhibits and awards extends from the University of Kansas and the 1965 World's Fair in New York City (through the upper tier of States along with Colorado and Nebraska) to Washington, D.C. Connoiseurs discover Fr. Hugh's commissioned pieces in collections from St. Cloud's Mississippi riverside to the island beachfronts of Puerto Rico; from sophisticated New York galleries to Colorado's finest private houses.


Hugh Witzmann OSB MFA
Saint John's Abbey & University
Collegeville, Minnesota 56321-2015

Responses to or questions about my sculpture are welcome. Write for details about the works pictured or the one you envision. <HWitzmann @>


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