Exploring the Sacred
Beholding the Sacred
Egino Günther Weinert (aka Franz Stanislaus Günter Przybilski) was born on March 3, 1920, in Berlin. From a very early age, deep faith and a keen interested in arts filled his life. Inspired by the art of the in the museums in Berlin and love of his faith, Egino devoted his time to giving life to art in the service of faith.
Egino entered the Benedictine monastery of Münzerschwarzach at the age of fourteen, and two years later, began work as a restorer and church painter under the tutelage of Brother Lukas. In 1937, he studied sculpture from Valentin Kraus. In 1941, Egino started work in goldsmith and silversmith arts.
Egino was arrested for refusing to perform the Nazi salute and was later forced to enlist in the Navy. Egino did not lose interest in art during his years of military service, but rather, took advantage of his free time to work with other artists and further develop his skills.
In October 1945, Egino lost his right hand in an explosion caused by a rigged fuse. Egino' injury and a long and painful recuperation did not deter him from pursuing his passion for art.
Egino returned to the Benedictine monastery of Münsterschwarzach as a goldsmith. Here, Egino teaches himself to work with his left hand and begins to produce enamel work with biblical and religious themes. In 1949, Egino was refused vows by the monastery because of his handicap. He experienced the same refusal from the Franciscans. Egino feels abandoned but nonetheless persists in his desire to evangelize through art. Egino married Anneliese Leopold in 1951, and a year later, he founded a private studio where he began to produce his art.
By the mid-1950’s he opens his studio in Cologne and later in Barcelona. By 1963, he had his first meeting with Pope Paul VI and began producing sacred art for religious institutions throughout Europe, including several commissions by Pope Paul VI and Pope St. John Paul II.
His wife died in 1985 after a long illness. He later married Waltraud Foerster.
Egino Weinert died on September 4, 2012, at the age of 92.
Weinert’s art and stylized figures are often described as naïf. Naïf art approaches artistic contexts in a spontaneous way, with total aesthetic and expressive freedom, and its followers define it today as “the art that is free of conventions.”
Weinert’s art is simple and reflects tenderness, and a particular drama achieved by using bold color. His art echoes the medieval stained glass of the great cathedrals of Europe and the primitive Netherlandish style.
Throughout his life, Egino faced moments of loss and rejection. His art, in the end, has brought believers together in a spirit of sacred inclusiveness. Rarely did he create pieces depicting a single person. his vignettes always depict groups. And, the viewer, is always “drawn in” to the vignette—into the sacred story of sacred community.
Christ Cathedral, in Orange, is home to the last tabernacle created by Weinert. Monsignor Art Holquin procured the tabernacle from the private collection of Weinert’s widow. The four-sided tabernacle features cloisonné enameled scenes from the Nativity, the Wedding Feast at Cana, the Resurrection, and Doubting Thomas and the Risen Christ. The tabernacle sits on a pedestal decorated with bronze relief imagery from the life of Christ.
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