Clear Creek Abbey, Oklahoma

Annunciation Capitals by Andrew Wilson Smith

Highlighting a beautiful artistic commission from the Western United States

Present at the National Eucharistic Congress are two plaster capitals that the artist made to serve as 1:1 scale models for the stone capitals at Clear Creek Abbey, a Benedictine monastery located in Holbert, Oklahoma. Andrew Smith designed these models around the story of the Annunciation.

When approaching the portal, the viewer sees Gabrial on the left-hand side speaking to Our Lady on the right-hand capital. These ‘historiated’ capitals, or capitals that tell a story are rooted in Romanesque exemplars and tell the story of salvation history from the creation of Adam and Eve to the Nativity of Christ.

Story in Stone

Examine each capital closely from the back of the ‘Gabrial’ capital along its side. Jump over from Gabriel to Mary (as seen in the top image), go along the side, and then to the back again.

See if you can identify the various scenes in sequence and explain how they all fit together. Andrew Wilson Smith designed and carved the Annunciation Capitals and lintel, which feature the twelve Apostles.

George Carpenter designed and carved the Typmanum, which features Christ, the Four Living creatures, and decorative floral designs. Because the monks of Our Lady of the Annunciation Abbey seek to ‘Build a Monistary to last 1,000 years, ‘ the Sculptures were carved from Batesville Marble, a very dense and durable stone quarried in central Arkansas rather than the more typical but softer Indiana Limestone.

Learn more about how local churches commission artists as seen at these sacred artworks at the National Eucharistic Congress: