May 06, 2008

Many-Colored Glass in The New Yorker

This is a first. A 3,000+ word article about stained glass, called Many-Colored Glass, in the venerable magazine The New Yorker. It's written by Peter Schjeldahl about contemporary German painters Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke, and their individual forays into stained glass. Richter for the recently dedicated window at Cologne Cathedral, and Polke for the unfinished set of windows going into the Grossmünster, in Zurich, Switzerland.

It crosscuts between profiles of Richter and Polke, all the while interspersed with Schjeldahl's exasperated and slightly maddening history and assessment of stained glass. I've got to mull this one over before I comment further.

A technical note - the article does clear up one technical question about the Cologne window. As suspected, the panels were laminated and not fused. There would not have been the boasting about using handblown glass if they had been fused, as the fusing would destroy the texture of the handblown glass. My guess is that the individual panes of glass are sandwiched between two layers of plate glass.

Quick links for Gerhard Richter and the Cologne Cathedral window -
My previous posts on Richter's Cologne Cathedral Commission here and here.
Wikipedia entry for Gerhard Richter
Fun context - Cologne window as pixel art (SG about 3/4 down page)

Quick links for Sigmar Polke and the Grossmünster -
New York Times article from 2007 called The Alchemist's Moment
Wikipedia entry for Sigmar Polke
Wikipedia entry for the Grossmünster
Pictures of the Grossmünster

Posted by Tom at May 6, 2008 05:19 AM