The Chapel Of The Good Shepherd at Saint Peter’s Church is a comprehensive sculptural environment created by Louise Nevelson. It is the only permanent installation of a Nevelson comprehensive environment in New York City. The sculpture and the furnishings are the gifts of Erol Beker, who is inurned to the left of the cross.
One of the most important sculptors of the last century, Louise Nevelson accepted the commission of this Christian liturgical space, though she, herself, was Jewish. Even a cursory look at the sculpture reveals an artist who carefully and faithfully studied what she would proclaim mostly in wood and paint, and with one block of exceptionally exquisite gold leaf.
People visit from all over the world not simply to see, but to experience the tranquility of this Chapel, used exclusively for liturgies, prayer and meditation.
The chapel is a multi-sided space, measuring 28 by 21 feet. The sculptural elements are wood affixed to walls. Everything is painted white with the exception of the Cross of the Good Shepherd, which is white paint and gold leaf. Floors, pews, and altar are made of ash wood, which has been treated to conform with the pale pallet. The window is frosted white.
Three suspended columns to the side of the altar suggest the Holy Trinity. Five sculptures affixed to the walls are titled the Cross of the Good Shepherd, Frieze of the Apostles, Cross of the Resurrection, Grapes and Wheat Lintel and Sky Vestment — Trinity.
Nevelson also created a shelf for the presence light, and designed the altar fabrics and the vestments used in Chapel liturgies.