We are pleased to announce the release for the Christmas season of the book Approaching the Divine – A Primer for Iconography, a collection of original icons – transfigurations of beauty and windows to heaven – by the hand of world-renowned American iconographer and Villanova University professor of art, the Reverend Richard G. Cannuli, O.S.A. Displaying icons of Christ, the Eternal Father, the Virgin Mary, angels and archangels, festal icons and icons of various saints in more than 100 full color pictures, Cannuli masterfully straddles and unites into one the artistic and spiritual divide between the Western Church and the Eastern Church by writing Catholic icons in the Russian-Byzantine tradition as a bi-ritual priest. Cannuli’s icons can be found in several churches and collections, and in the possession of many individuals around the globe including His Holiness, Pope Francis; the Maronite Primate, Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Sfeir and in the famous icon collection of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai, Egypt. Approaching the Divine – A Primer for Iconography is available in hardback, paperback and ebook editions directly from Hope and Life Press, at Amazon globally and other booksellers.
“The artworks project is a rare essence of mysticism . . . helping the artist connect with his audience while urging them to connect with each other, as they seek to respect the spirit of mystery and life” – Burton Wasserman, Emeritus Professor of Art and Art Critic, Rowan University.
“Cannuli has offered a great gift to those who know his work. I recently had the privilege of presenting Father Richard’s icon of Saint Augustine to His Holiness, Pope Francis, who was visibly moved and deeply appreciative as he held it in his hands. The spirituality of Saint Augustine, of which interiority is a pillar, is beautifully represented by all that Father Richard communicates through his art: God is truly present in our midst” – Bishop Robert F. Prevost, Titular Bishop of Sufar and Former Prior General of the Order of Saint Augustine.
“Cannuli is among the foremost iconographers today. His icons, teaching of future iconographers and deep sense of the history and power of icons in evoking spiritual devotion are qualities that have endeared him to a whole generation of people. Approaching the Divine brings together decades of his work for those looking for spiritual sustenance and a personal path to union with the divine” – Carol Ludwig, Executive Director, The Center for Spiritual Care.
“Cannuli’s book Approaching the Divine gives the viewer insight into faith and hope by using imagery and color to explain the abundant graces and mercies of the God of the universe to a world greatly in need” – Archpriest John Perich, Saint Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church.
About the Author
Fr. Richard G. Cannuli, O.S.A., obtained the Bachelor of Fine Arts from Villanova University, Pennsylvania in 1973 and the Master of Fine Arts from the Platt Institute in Brooklyn, New York in 1978. He studied iconography under the Russian master-iconographer Vladislav Andrejev and watercolor in Siena, Italy. Cannuli joined the faculty at Villanova University, teaching courses on transparent watercolor, printmaking, oil painting, figure drawing, fabric and iconography. Cannuli is the founder and director of the art gallery of the university and curator of its art collection.
Cannuli was appointed full professor of fine arts in 2000. He chaired the Department of Studio Art, History of Art and Music at Villanova University for 11 years and the Department of Theatre, Studio Art and Music for five years. Besides being a noted iconographer, Cannuli is also a master watercolorist and world-renowned designer of liturgical vestments. He designs and works with stained glass windows, mosaic, fabric and liturgical furniture. Certified in liturgical design by the Chicago Theological Union, Cannuli has consulted for numerous communities on the construction of choir and chapel spaces in Italy and the US.
Cannuli has presented exhibits of his icons in Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Poland, South Africa and the US. He has also presented watercolor exhibits in Belarus, China, Greece, Italy, Russia, Spain and the US. Cannuli has organized, curated and judged various art exhibitions and consulted on determining the symbolism of antique icons together with specialists from Belarus and Russia. Cannuli regularly conducts iconography workshops in the Czech Republic, England, Italy, Poland and the US.
Icons of Cannuli have been commissioned by several parish communities and private individuals in Europe and the US. Some major commissions he has written can be found at the chapel of the law school of Villanova University in Pennsylvania, the churches of Divine Mercy and Saint Francis Xavier in Philadelphia, the convent of Saint Augustine in San Gimigniano, Italy, and the monastery of the Holy Name of Jesus in Denmark, Wisconsin.
Cannuli’s icon titled Do Not Weep For Me, Mother has been presented on behalf of Villanova University to the Primate of the Maronite Church, His Eminence, Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, whereas his latest icon of Saint Augustine has been presented to His Holiness, Pope Francis on the occasion of the opening of the General Chapter of the Order of Saint Augustine. Cannuli’s icon titled The Holy Face Made Without Hands has been accepted into the permanent collection of the Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai, Egypt – a collection considered to portray the best early icons worldwide.