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Window of the Month
Detroit Institute of Arts

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Window

Building Name: First United Methodist Church

Studio Name: Von Gerichten Studios

City: Kalamazoo

Window Shape: 6 (gothic arched, over 2 vertical sections)

Subject/Title of Window: Knowledge

Brief Description of Subject: The main symbolism of the Nave windows develops the Gifts of the Spirit: Faith, Hope, Love, Wisdom, Knowledge, Courage, Justice and Mercy. The Cross of Faith, the Anchor of Hope, the Burning Heart for Love, Burning Candle with the book of Wisdom, Burning Lamp of Knowledge, Oak Tree with crusader’s shield for Courage, the Sword and Scales for Justice, the Blunted Sword or broken Sword for Mercy. It is fitting that the emblems of the apostles should be used throughout these windows, as they were the “Distributors of the Word.” Crossing to the north side of the nave, the first window (on the west) is partially obscured by the upper balcony. Its center panel portrays the double burning lamp with the lighted candle. The candle suggests to us Christ as the light of the world. The lamp reminds us of Psalms 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and light unto my path.” It seems appropriate for these two symbols to appear together since Christ and the Holy Scriptures interpret each other. The left center panel bears a shield with a carpenter’s square and a spear. This is the symbol of St. Thomas who, according to tradition, built a church with his own hands (carpenter’s square) at Malipur, India, and was there killed by a spear thrust of pagan priest. The right center panel portrays a woven basket, symbol of the apostle Phillip, who had a prominent part in the feeding of the five thousand. In the upper left panel we find a sacred monogram composed of the letters IX, the initials of the Greek words for Jesus Christ. His eternity is suggested by the circle enclosing the sacred monogram. In the upper right panel is a design which for centuries was a Christian symbol but was appropriated by the Nazi party of Germany. This is a very old symbol. Examples of it have been found on pottery excavated from the site of ancient Troy and other locations as far back as 3,000 years before Christ. It has also been found among the designs of Mayan architecture in Central America. Before the Christian era it was quite universally used as a symbol of the sun. The Christian Church early appropriated this pagan symbol and used it to represent the “Sun of Righteousness,” a significance which it holds in Christian art to this day. Its Christian significance will probably be remembered long after the Nazis have been forgotten. It is called the swastika or rebated cross. In the lower center panel we find the five pointed star with five rays shining downward. This is called the Star of Jacob and refers to the prophecy found in Numbers 24:17, “There shall come forth a star out of Jacob and a scepter shall rise out of Israel.” This symbol also reminds us of the proclamation of Christ found in Revelation 22:16, “I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright and morning star.” That unusually brilliant star by which the wise men were guided to Bethlehem is also suggested by this symbol, which is universally associated with the celebration of Christmas.

Condition of Window: Very Good

Height: 50'?

Width: 12'?

Type of Glass and Technique: Antique or Cathedral Glass, Lead Came

Knowledge
Knowledge
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit
The Star of Jacob
The Star of Jacob
St. Thomas
St. Thomas
The Burning Lamp
The Burning Lamp
St. Phillip
St. Phillip
Gifts of the Spirits Windows exterior
Gifts of the Spirits Windows exterior

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