Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Virgin and Unicorn

There are a few clerestory bays at Conversion of St. Paul, Cleveland, O.. Each of these has three small windows. It looks to be in a late English mediƦval style. Now, the original stained glass, in the church, was late XIXth century painted American glass. This had been an Anglican church. In 1931 the church was 'converted' to Catholicism. The new windows, at least some, came from F.X. Zettler of Munich. In 1939 the company merged back with Franz Mayer; the two had split c. 1873.

These three are Marian windows. The lower left has superimposed letters, 'M', 'A','R'. Perhaps Ave Maria Regina, and/or the first three letters of Maria/Mary. Top window is a dove carrying a lily, which could be the Annunciation. All the windows have stars, suggesting heaven (Mary is Queen of Heaven).

The bottom right is a maiden (the Virgin) and an unicorn. The allegory is quite involved. One ancient story is that the unicorn is the most ferocious of beasts, and only a virgin could tame him. A unicorn is also a symbol of Jesus Christ.
Now, there are several interesting, and beautiful windows in this church; but not contextually consistent, nor coherent. Several are not readily apparent, and many people would not fathom a guess. I would wager, few windows have this subject.

My camera only has a 10x telephoto, most clerestory windows need more. Perhaps a tripod on this one, especially if you want a longer exposure. It is very hard to get a a 'point and shoot' of any quality on this one. The color is a little washed out. This was a digital photograph with a camera that came without explanation of its options. I can only set one parameter, it then chooses the rest. Sometimes the results are fair.

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