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Villanova University Art Gallery

Father Richard

Opening Reception: April 13th, 4pm - 6pm

On view from: April 13 - August 14, 2023



In A Painter’s Pilgrimage, we encourage you to explore the secular and liturgical works of Father Richard G. Cannuli, O.S.A. (1947-2019). This exhibition highlights the multitude of mediums he used, his penchant for travel, the relationships he forged and the lasting impression he left on art education and our community.

Father Richard’s work as an artist and art educator spanned several decades and included numerous exhibitions, commissions, and teaching positions. He founded the Villanova University Art Gallery in 1985 and was instrumental in expanding the Villanova University Art Collection to nearly 10,000 works of art it encompasses today.

Father Richard traveled extensively, exhibiting his works in Italy, Spain, China, Russia, Belarus, and Greece. He brought students on these trips and inspired them to paint En Plein Air with watercolor, his preferred medium. Places like Alaska inspired the use of purple tones, continuous landscapes and mountains that take up much of the composition. During his multiple trips to Italy, his focus turned to Baroque fountains, eight-hundred-year-old churches and architectural giants that assert themselves in palazzos. Whereas China guided the Augustinian priest toward calligraphic brushstrokes and the cultural significance of Buddhist statues.

His use of color and drama gave Father Richard’s work a flair for the unexpected. He designed and worked with stained glass windows, fabric, mosaic, and liturgical furniture and was called upon to design and renovate churches and convents. The variety of mediums he used lent themselves to different themes, gestures, and motifs. He studied icon painting techniques that are as old as Christianity itself not only as devotional paintings but also to bring attention to more diverse saints or political figures. It is not often Mother Mary is shown encircled by airplanes in a 9-11 memorial, as portrayed in one of his icons.

Father Richard leaves behind a legacy as a Renaissance man, a pillar of the community, everyone’s favorite dinner companion, a listening ear, a world traveler, a pilgrim and a priest, a student and a teacher. Someone who brought the world to Villanova and Villanova to the world.

Special thanks to the Augustinian Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova. This exhibit is co-curated by Jennie Castillo and Taleen Postian, CLAS '24.


About the Gallery

Over the years, guest artists exhibiting at the gallery have come from as far away as Kuwait and as close to home as Philadelphia. The gallery has hosted exhibits of traditional watercolors from China, carved masks and totems from the Yoruba culture of West Africa, Batiks from Belorussia, and handcrafted ceramics and glassware from Italy. We have served as an inaugural venue for young artists and provided an exhibition space for talented older citizens whose discovery of the artist within came much later in life.

All exhibits are open to the public and are free of charge.

The public is cordially invited to all artists' receptions. We welcome the opportunity to put new names and addresses on our mailing list in order to let you know of special events, such as free demonstrations by exhibiting artists, and other programs.

Visit Us!

Gallery Location
Connelly Center, 2nd Floor
800 Lancaster Ave.,
Villanova PA

Mon - Fri: 8 AM - 7 PM
Weekend: 11 AM - 7PM

We reccomend checking the Connelly Center hours before visiting

IG: @vuartgallery

Twitter: @vu_artgallery