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Monastic Period 1950 - 1968
Saint Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, USA
The monastic period on the pre-algorithmic art works of Roman Verostko.
General view of St. Vincent Archabbey where Roman lived for 18 years.
During his first year after art school a growing interest in spirituality and philosophy led Roman to Saint Vincent Archabbey located in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. On his 21st birthday, in 1950, he entered a scholastic program that prepared him for a full commitment to monastic life. As a monk he pursued philosophical and theological studies that led to his ordination as a priest in 1959.
Following ordination his monastic assignments took him, for periods of time, to New York, Paris and Washington. During these periods he remained committed to monastic life with this monastery as his home.
A gradual change of Roman's inner beliefs led him to withdraw from monastic life in 1968. For an account of this change see his brief essay: From Cloister to Nature's Sanctuary
Early Monastic Period Art (1950-1959). Taking the monastic name Romanus, he entered the cloister as a Novice in 1952, and continued studies in philosophy and theology. During these years of study his practice as an artist was limited but he was given opportunities for several murals. He continued to draw and painted several portraits including a life size portrait of the archabbot. Most of his drawings and paintings of this period were lost in a fire that devastated the monastery in 1963. St Vincent Library 1958-1960. This ceramic tile mural, measuring 22 feet by 11 feet, was designed, glazed and fired by the Roman at St Vincent before he went to New York for advanced studies. .He began preliminary work on the Library project in the 1958-59 academic year and completed firing all the tiles for the installation in 1960. The mural was installed in 1961 and the dedication date has been quoted in another source as 1962. Click here for detailed illustration & interpretation. Monk in New York (1960-1962). A year after ordination he was sent to New York City as a resident monk at Saint Michaels rectory on West 34th Street. His mission was to pursue both studio and academic studies and return to the abbey to enrich a program in the arts. After completing an MFA degree at Pratt Institute (1961) he followed graduate courses in both medieval and modern art history dividing his time between NYU's Institute of Fine Arts and Columbia University. France, 1962-1963. To round out his studies the Abbot sent Roman to Europe to broaden his studio work and to experience primary sites in the history of western art. In Paris he pursued further studies, maintained a modest studio and traveled to medieval monastic sites along the pilgrimage routes. More on this period. Monastery Studio, 1963-1968: struggle with change. During this very productive period Roman wrestled seriously with his inner beliefs and the experiences that had brought him into monastic life some years earlier. This struggle would lead him to leave his life in the monastery in 1968. This struggle can be seen in his Tennessee Notebook that was published by Jubilee Magazine in its 1968 April issue. Symptoms of struggle and changing perspectives also permeated his "Psalms in Sound & Image". Click here for details on this period. Washington, DC, 1964-1966. With the blessing of his Abbot Roman was appointed to full Staff Editor for Art and Architecture with the New Catholic Encyclopedia (McGraw Hill, 1968). His sections for this monumental 15 volume reference work received excellent reviews ( America, March 18, 1967). While maintaining a studio and part time residence at the monastery he spent most of his time at Catholic University in Washington with the editorial staff. He maintained a small studio on campus where he worked on his New City series while continuing to experiment with the automatic drawing he pursued in France. More on this period and signss of change
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