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Sacred Art Exhibition 2021

We are delighted to present the winners gallery for the 2021 Sacred Art Prize.

We'd like to graciously thank our juror, Cody Swanson, award-winning sculptor and educator who's role as a juror was particularly challenging this year with so many worthy submissions!  The following gallery reflects his selections from nearly 300 submissions from many countries including: Argentina, Armenia, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

We'd like to thank all the artists who participated in the competition and warmly congratulate the winners!

If you are interested in purchasing any of the finalist works, please email

1st Prize _ by Mikayel Harutyunyan, oil on canvas, _ x _, $_  .jpeg

1st Prize

"I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"
by Mikayel Harutyunyan
Oil on canvas   |   80 x 60cm  |   NFS

Details: Crucifixion is a theme that many artists have touched on for centuries. In my version of the Crucifixion, I tried to emphasize the messages of Christ, His word addressed to each of us. His gaze is directed at the viewer and this creates the impression that Christ is talking to you. No other figure is depicted, no unnecessary details, only Christ and His Father, whose presence in the painting is reflected in the gloomy sky. In His eyes you can find many words written in the Bible. The tension in his hands conveys the feeling of suffering that Christ feels at this moment when he speaks to us. I tried to depict this scene the same way it was in the time of Jesus. The stones are similar to the stones that are preserved in Jerusalem to this day, which brings the painting closer to reality. The title of the painting summarizes what has been said and the history of this painting.

2nd Prize _The Chaste Heart of St. Joseph_ by Robert Puschautz, oil on linen, 16_ x 20_, N

2nd Prize

"Chaste Heart of St. Jospeh"
by Robert Puschautz
Oil on linen |  16" x 20"  |  NFS

Details: St. Joseph is depicted as bold and strong. He is garbed in a green robe lined with gold which represents his Davidic royal lineage. His right hand holds a lily near his heart which is a symbol of his chastity and is also used as the source of illumination in the picture. As part of a triptych (picture below) created for the St. Joseph's Chapel in Tyler Texas, his left hand gestures to Our Lord, the source of all grace and virtue. While this painting was created entirely from life, I modified the subject and his features to conform better to the ideal of male strength and virtue.

Three Hearts |Theology on Canvas: a short video about the triptych

3rd Prize _St. Joseph Terror of Demons_ by Bernadette Carstensen, watercolor on paper, 11_

3rd Prize
"St. Joseph Terror of Demons"
by Bernadette Cartensen
Watercolor on paper  |   11"x 14"  |  NFS

Details: This work is a personal piece I painted after creating a much larger version with many additional figures for the book " Consecration to St. Joseph".  Fr. Donald Calloway instructed me that I should paint a young, strong Joseph firmly holding the Christ Child, while Jesus Himself wields the lily of purity that pierces and terrifies the Devil.  I easily pictured the way I would paint him, with traditional green robes and a stern, but benevolent expression.  Jesus is about the age of 6, old enough to look natural holding a long spear, but still with His little head innocently inclined towards Joseph. The devil is pictured as a dragon, more animal than "human," I wanted to avoid a grotesque look which could distract from the faces of Joseph and Jesus.  The Ghent altarpiece was a great inspiration to me for this work.  I adore the velvet and gold jeweled garments, the austerity of the figures and the luminous detail work.  My husband and oldest daughter modelled for the reference photos, which makes this painting quite special to me.


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Curated by Cody Swanson


Cody Joseph Swanson is an American sculptor who lives in Florence, Italy
with his wife and five children. He holds an Level one Masters Diploma in Liturgy, Sacred Art and Architecture from the European University in Rome, and studied sculpture in the three year certificate program of the Florence Academy of Art, where he continued to teach for five years. Swanson is a co-founder and former board member of the Sacred Art School of Florence, and spearheaded their traditional sculpture program for nine years.

At his recently established private studio in north Florence, he
continues to produce award winning sculpture for churches and private
collections throughout Europe and the United States. Noteworthy examples can be found at the Duomo of Florence, St Dominic’s Priory of London, The Benedictine Monastery of Norcia, St Joseph Cathedral of Sioux Falls, SD, Saint Patrick’s Church of New Orleans, LA, The National Shrine of Mary at Holy Hill, WI, Campus Bio-medico of Rome, the Jesuit High School of Tampa, FL, and Eglise Notre Dame des Accoules, Marseille.

Tremendous love for classical art and architecture with pursuit of
continuity have formed Swanson's methods, while prestigious commissions, gallery representation, and academic  positions have demonstrated an ability to aptly organize budgets, timetables, and curricula.

For commissions and more information please visit:

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