Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Way to Begin and End a Film (or a Book For that Matter) on Morton Smith is With Beautiful Images from Stained Glass Windows

With images of beautiful stained glass windows. Apparently Morton Smith's memorial service was held in St. Paul's Chapel of Columbia University. It is renowned for its beautiful stained glass windows. Smith was meticulous about the details of his funeral. He must have picked this for a specific reason. Could it be that its famous stained glass windows reminded him of his childhood?

Stokes requested that the prominent stained-glass artist John La Farge design the three chancel windows in rich dark colors that would harmonize with the brick and tile. The windows center on a scene of St. Paul preaching to the Athenians on Mars Hill. Paul stands in front of the Parthenon, holding an inscription that reads "Add To Your Faith, Virtue." The presence of the Parthenon serves to remind visitors to the chapel that they are on Morningside Heights, a neighborhood dubbed "the Acropolis of New York." It is appropriate that the chapel is named for Paul since he was considered the most important teacher among early Christians.
The 16 windows in the dome are the work of Maitland Armstrong. These windows, displaying family coats of arms, were gifts in honor of important Columbia graduates, including DeWitt Clinton, William Rhinelander, Nicholas Fish, and Philip Van Cortlandt. The transept windows by Henry Wynd Young, Jr. and J. Gordon Guthrie, depicting great teachers of the Old Testament to the north and the New Testament to the south, were not installed until the 1920s. The choir room, on the lower level of St. Paul's Chapel, is lit by three apse windows which may be medieval glass, but more likely are nineteenth-century copies of medieval windows.

Email with comments or questions.

Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.