Deesis Triptych

Stone Age Artist Goes Virtual

Works by retired professor Michael Lucas are featured in the Orthodox Arts Festival, an international virtual show based in England.
By: Therese Boyd
Deesis Triptych by Michael Lucas

Deesis Triptych. Entire piece: 82ʺW, 89ʺH, 8ʺD. Figures are each 20×32ʺ

Credit: Michael Lucas

Sculptor Michael Lucas, now associate professor emeritus at Penn State Altoona, wants people to know something about retired professors: “Our entire lives are devoted to research and creativity ... none of it stops with retirement.” As evidence of that, Lucas has had two constructions accepted into the Orthodox Arts Festival, an international virtual show based in England featuring “iconography, fine arts, photography, film, church music, and literature,” according to its website: “All of the works are based on Orthodox Christian ideas, culture, and values.”

Lucas uses hand tools to create his works in Byzantine iconography. One of his submissions to the festival is titled “Deesis Triptych.” He explains, “A deesis is an image of Christ flanked by the Theotokos (Mary, the Mother of God) on his right and John the Baptist on his left. Both Mary and John are shown in postures of prayerful supplication, pleading with the Savior on behalf of humanity.” The entire work is mixed medium, with elements of carved Indiana limestone (in the figures), hewn sandstone, mortar, brick, wood, and a brass votive light.

Works in the festival will be displayed in Virtual Reality galleries between September 17 and 26, 2021. Awards will be announced at the end of the festival.