TROUTDALE — Nationally renowned bronze sculptor, Rip Caswell of Troutdale, has been commissioned to create an original work of art, Ascending Christ, for the Catholic Ascension Cemetery in Wichita, Kansas before the end of this year. The bronze sculpture will stand 11.5 feet tall and weigh more than 1,000 pounds when complete.
This is the third commission Caswell has received from the Diocese of Wichita. The sculptor was selected after a nationwide search more than a year ago to create two original sculptures as part of the 18-month renovation of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
The sculptures are of Mary and Joseph and the Crucifixion. Each stands more than seven feet in height. The completed cathedral opened in February.
“This third monument completes the circle,” said Caswell, “We began with Mary standing with Joseph, looking across the cathedral and time to her Son on the Cross, we then portrayed Christ’s decision and sacrifice with the Crucifixion — now we’ll demonstrate the victorious Christ ascending triumphantly into heaven.”
The 30-acre Ascension Cemetery, created in the mid-1990s, is located 10 miles from the cathedral in Wichita.
It sees approximately 10,000 to 12,000 visitors annually. The Ascending Christ will be placed atop a black marble column there, standing a dramatic 30 feet in the air above the plaza below.
The sculptor and his son, Chad, who is assisting him in the project, are fresh back from a trip to Italy, where they studied in detail the work of Renaissance masters Michel-angelo and Bernini, among others.
Caswell is more passionate than ever to transfer his fresh inspiration into the Ascending Christ.
“I studied figurative sculpture in Italy in 2001,” said Caswell, “but in this second trip back I realized how much my capacity had grown over the last decade of working on the human form. I saw things this time in the old masters works with more artistically mature eyes — subtle nuances that I’m excited to develop into my own work moving forward. My commitment to continually develop and my goal to pursue excellence in my art was reaffirmed as I looked at the greatness of these artists’ works.”
For more on Caswell’s artistry, go to www.RipCaswell.com.