Peter Koenig, Catholic Artist
Peter shown with his wife and eldest daughter.
"The goal of my life is to make a richer Christian-Catholic art. I want to paint the drama, romance and poetry of the sacred book.
"Catholic Art in England is preoccupied with a devotional range of subjects. These are the "Stations of the Cross", starting with Christ's condemnation and journey to the crucifixion; there is the Cross, and images of Mary and the saints. But there is much more imagery in the Bible than this.
"Throughout the Bible there runs the theme of God married to his people, Christ the Bridegroom. The Apostles preached the Resurrection and the new man. In addition there is all the teaching and dramatic actions of Christ. You don't get crucified by telling charming stories; your teachings much carry a punch, they must upset someone. This is a matter of hard moral choices, and people all over the world continue to be persecuted or killed for their faith.
"My life as an artist almost came to a premature halt at the age of fifteen, when I gave up art for science. However, my poor results at O-Level (GCSE) found me back in the art room. There I was blessed to have an inspirational teacher and so I went on from there to art school and teacher training.
"The art school was staffed by agnostics so not the best place for one who wanted to produce sacred art. However after completing my teacher training in the city of Leeds, I returned to my old art school to teach for a while.
"During that time the teaching staff held a joint exhibition in High Wycombe. But my work was not included! Why not?
"At the time, C.G.Jung was the hot topic of the day and I had read all his collected works. The theme of my painting was the "Unconscious". However my colleagues felt uncomfortable about the subject; psychology was a disturbing topic for many, where worrying things rumble about in the dark regions of the soul. The other teachers felt my work did not fit the show.
"As I was making no headway as an artist my father proposed I study abroad, in Nuremberg. There I learned how to paint in the fresco technique. However I was not likely to find a patron for this kind of art, and I returned to England.
"Having made a contact with a gallery in Ostend, Belgium, I exhibited there and several paintings were sold. There followed a one-man show which was very successful. In England I have exhibited in Westminster Cathedral, Cliveden Cathedral and Winchester Cathedral. My work is on view in a number of churches, in particular my local church of Our Lady of Peace in Burnham, Bucks, and St Edmund's in Kettering where my brother, Canon J. Koenig, was parish priest for many years."
Peter Winfried Koenig
A booklet of Peter's paintings that relate to the Parables is available. You can buy a hard copy or download a pdf copy for free at lulu.com.