Paintings As Parables

by | Jun 16, 2017 | Formation

Today we highlight the German priest painter Sieger Köder, who depicted Frédéric Ozanam, founder of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and his commitment to the poor in his famous mural in Graz, Austria. Please visit VinFormation for a reflection by Fr. Wolfgang Pucher, CM on Vincentian themes found in this mural.

Sieger Köder was born on January 3, 1925 in Wasseralfingen, Germany. During the Second World War he was sent to France as a front line soldier where he was made a prisoner or war. Once back from captivity, Sieger Köder attended the Academy School of Art in Stuttgart until 1951; then he studied at the University of Tubigen as part of his qualification as a teacher. After 12 years of teaching art and working as an artist, Köder undertook theological studies for the priesthood and in 1971 he was ordained a Catholic priest. From 1975 to 1995, Fr. Köder exercised his ministry as a parish priest in Hohenberg and Rosenberg. He died on February 9, 2015 at the age of 90.

The years of his ministry as a priest are among the most prolific with inspiring works of art. A fan of Sieger Köder’s art writes:

There is complete synergy between Fr. Köder being a minister and an artist. He produced numerous paintings, altarpieces and stained glass windows for churches within and outside Germany. He uses his paintings as Jesus used his parables […] Köder’s art is heavily charged with his personal experience of war during the Nazi period and the time of the Holocaust.

His wartime experiences profoundly influenced his depictions of the Passion of Christ and human suffering and evil. Most famously he painted a fresco of the Last Supper for the German College in Rome which included, sitting at the table of the Eucharist, a Jew, a beggar and a prostitute.

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