One feels that Carl Schmitt, another contemporary painter of religious subjects, has gone to the primitives for much of his inspiration. Yet here again in his work personal expression gives vitality and interest to themes that have been painted and re-painted for centuries.
Directness and simplicity marks Schmitt’s canvasses. He has a decided feeling for rhythmic structure and decorative effect. A mural of The Nativity, shown at the Brooklyn Exhibition of Mural Painters last spring, gave one the impression of a mosaic because of its complication of details, draperies and figures. There is deep pure color and delightful riches of stuffs and textures. One would like to finger some of those heavy folds that spill themselves in incredible prodigality about and around the figures. Yet for all this beating pulse of color, opulence of materials and intricacy of linear patterns with rhythms and counter rhythms, there is assured unity of design.
One might well have believed that The Nativity could not be given a new significance. Yet using all the familiar paraphernalia of the patient ox and ass, the manger, the angel host an the starry sky, the artist has informed the theme with astonishing vividness and beauty and recreated the story for us with splendor of imagination and a beautiful sincerity.
Moreover, considered as decoration, the form linear pattern of the painting is extremely effective, and the opulent color lights up even a dim interior. Furthermore, the delightful juxtaposition of tones in the mosaic-like texture contributes a definite decoration at a distance where the significance of the subject cannot be appreciated.