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"Munich School" Windows

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The Ascension at Christ Episcopal ChurchThe windows in the nave of Christ Church are of the "Munich style," or “Munich School.”  These windows were created by Jacoby Art Glass Company in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1920-1921.

During the latter half of the 1800's and the first part of the 1900's many churches in the United States, especially Catholic churches, imported their windows from studios that grew out of the Munich School.

These "Munich" windows, as they were called, became so popular in the United States that some of the studios opened branch offices in Chicago and New York City. The most well known of the Munich School studios were the Mayer Studios, the F.X.Zettler Studios, the Royal Bavarian Establishment for the Stained Glass of Gustave van Treek, the Innsbruck Studios and the Tyrolean Art Glass Studios.

Some American studios also had principals that were trained in Munich and/or designed in the style of the Munich School. They were the Munich Studios of Chicago, the early Emil Frei Studios of St. Louis, the studios of Flanagan and Biedenweg of Chicago and the Ford Brothers Studios of Minneapolis.  Jacoby embraced this style of window, among others,  early in their existence.

Most Munich School windows have very distinct characteristics. The figures are highly realistic, painted in a German Baroque style on antique glass utilizing the traditional trace and matte technique of glass painting. If the theme was a scene, it often extended from one lancet to another. The Munich School windows imported from Germany seldom used the enamel-based glass painting technique, but it was used by some of the American studios, most notably Ford Brothers of Minneapolis and Flanagan and Biedenweg of Chicago.

Usually, but not always, the figures are set in a realistic scene framed by elaborate white and gold columns and canopies. Unlike the medieval windows, where the line formed by the lead is an important part of the design, the lead becomes subordinate to the highly painted glasses. The Munich School windows had great success with German, Bohemian, Polish and other European ethnic congregations. They had the sensitive understanding of the subject matter these congregations desired. The style was also very similar to the styles of the windows of the churches in the "old" country.

The Virgin Annunciate (c.1340), at Hadzor Church in the Diocese of Worcestshire, UKWindows manufactured in this style date back to the fourteenth century and earlier.  The window shown at left is distinctively similar to the Munich style, which was refined in the mid-nineteenth century.  This window is called The Virgin Annunciate (c.1340).  It is found at Hadzor Church in the Diocese of Worcestshire, United Kingdom.  This window can be viewed on the internet at the website of The Stained Glass Museum of Ely Cathedral.

Because of the elaborate and detailed glass painting, staining and etching that is found in Munich School windows they are of the quality that, because of today’s high labor cost, would be extremely costly to duplicate. Also, today there are only a handful of studios throughout the world that employ glass painters that can execute this type of realistic figure painting.

Jacoby Art Glass Company created most of the windows (all but three) in our church.  In addition to the windows in the nave (created in 1920-1921), they supplied another window scene for Christ Church 38 years later when the new addition was built.  This window is located in the Children's Chapel on the ground floor and is called "Christ Teaching the Little Children."  Other Jacoby windows installed that year are the three sets on the front of the narthex (front hallway) and the transom window over the office wing door.

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visits since 18 October 2000
This page was last updated April 02, 2013
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