Everlasting Son of the Father
The following image and explanation of this new artwork in Walther Library is taken from The Restoration of Creation in Christ: Essays in Honor of Dean O. Wenthe (Concordia Publishing House, 2014).
During Dean O. Wenthe’s tenure as president of Concordia Theological Seminary, the three-decade dream of expanding the library on the Saarinen-designed campus became a reality. Careful and painstaking work with architects and contractors who were sensitive to the seminary’s desire to maintain the integrity of the original design of the campus resulted in an expansion of the existing library into a world-class facility that will serve the seminary for years to come.
The architectural beauty of the CTS campus is matched by an artistic plan unified under the theme of the ancient church’s hymn of praise, the Te Deum. Wood, metal, fabric, and stone are joined in various works of art around the campus, inviting all who step on the campus to rejoice in the beauty of God’s creation as it points to his saving work in Christ.
Among those original works of art is a combination of bas-relief and mosaic on the south wall of the Dining Hall. By carving into the white-washed rectangular bricks, Saint Louis artist William Severson was able to create a captivating image of the saints gathered together, singing their praises to God. A pattern of colored plastic, enameled copper, and stained glass chips in the center of the image takes the shape of a loaf of bread.
In the final design of the library expansion, two brick towers of white-washed brick were erected next to the grand staircase that connects the first of two “lantern” buildings with the main collection in the lower level. These towers serve as the canvas for a new work of art created by Fort Wayne artist William Lupkin.
In form, this new work of art was inspired by the carved relief in the Dining Hall. In theme, this work builds upon Christ, “the everlasting Son of the Father,” represented in the existing library mosaic by the incarnate Christ holding the Bible with the Greek letters Alpha and Omega inscribed upon its open pages. The new work begins at the bottom of the staircase with Christ and continues with images depicting the foundation of the law and the prophets, as well as the apostolic witness, on the first column (above left). The second column (above right) begins with Luther, nailing the 95 theses, and Chemnitz, holding a Book of Concord. This Biblical and confessional identity is handed on to our seminary founders, Loehe, Craemer, Sihler, and Wyneken, who in turn hand it on to our students, diaconal, international, and pastoral. In its wholeness, the work captures the transmission of the Word through the ages, providing a fitting image of the role of a theological library and a seminary faculty.
-Robert V. Roethemeyer