Heart of Glass

As a child I spent countless hours gazing in wonder at the beautiful stained glass windows in the church my family attended. A bit of that wonder faded when, as an adult, I learned that most of those windows were fairly standard mass produced designs found in churches all over the United States. Still, the apse windows remained special: custom made in Austria, they cost over $10,000 each, an astronomical sum in the 1870's when the church was built. The point of this little ramble? I'm not easily impressed by stained glass. Well, I was impressed today. A lunchtime stroll along Delaware Avenue led me to Trinity Episcopal Church, and the open front door promised a cool diversion I was unable to resist. The building itself is simple as far as Buffalo churches of that era go, but the stained glass windows are spectacular, both individually and as a collection. Unlike many churches, Trinity boasts windows from a wide variety of sources from all over the world, with masters such as Louis Comfort Tiffany and John LaFarge especially well represented. As the eye moves from window to window, the changing symbolism, technique, artistic styles and influences, from Art Nouveau to Renaissance to Japanese, somehow work together to create a whole that is more than the sum of its parts. Note: reprinted from summer

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