Pair of Liturgical Candlesticks
34 11/16 x 10 5/8 x 10 5/8 in. (88.1 x 27 x 27 cm)
William Alphonse Keyser, Jr.
Medium and Support:
Rosewood and bronze
Gift of Rev. Robert F. McNamara
Location: Not currently on view
Around 1962, the Rev. Robert McNamara commissioned six candlesticks for the high altar at St. Bernard’s Seminary in memory of his mother. Liturgical changes initiated by the Second Vatican Council excluded traditional candlesticks set upon altars, so two were moved to a shrine of remembrance in the seminary chapel. When St. Bernard’s closed in 1981, all six were returned to Rev. McNamara, who donated a pair to MAG.
The artist, along with Wendell Castle, was one of the founders of the woodworking department at RIT’s School for American Craftsmen. “I’ve always believed in the presence of a . . . supreme craftsman,” he said in a 2003 interview for the Archives of American Art. “And I’ve come to believe that whatever I’ve been able to achieve has been His work more than mine, that I’m just a vehicle.”
[Label text from It Came From the Vault exhibition, 2013]