War-time stained glass makes debut in Cork

A reproduction of a stunning stained glass window which was destroyed in World War II has been unveiled for the first time.

Josef Albers created his magnificent Rosa Mystica stained glass window in 1918 for his own place of worship, St Michael’s Church in Bottrop, Germany.

But the masterpiece was destroyed during the war.

The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation commissioned a full-scale reconstruction of Albers’s design for the Rosa Mystica to celebrate his work.

And in what has been hailed as a major coup, the foundation has agreed to unveil the replica in public for the first time at the Glucksman Gallery in Cork.

The window will also mark the starting point of a unique walking tour of some of Cork’s greatest stained glass treasures tomorrow.

Gallery director Fiona Kearney said she is thrilled to see the replica Rose Mystica finally installed in the gallery, with light flowing through it. “Our visitors will be the first people to see this work since it was destroyed in World War II.”

The window is the centrepiece of an exhibition of Albers’s work, entitled The Sacred Modernist which is running in the gallery.

It is also the first piece which will be viewed by people taking part in tomorrow’s Art Pilgrimage walking tour organised by the Glucksman Gallery.

It begins with the Rosa Mystica before moving on to the nearby Honan Chapel, which is home to the richly illustrated stained glass windows designed by Harry Clarke.

The tour will include commentary on the beautiful Celto-Byzantine motifs on the tiled chapel floor.

The tour will then move to St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, designed by architect William Burgess and consecrated in 1870, to hear how artists have used stained glass to inspire and illuminate their surroundings.

The cathedral’s stained glass windows describe scenes from the Old Testament, beginning with the Creation, which is set in the magnificent Rose Window, and scenes from the New Testament, depicted in stunning colours in the ambulatory and choir area.

The walking tour, which costs €10 per person, takes place from 1pm-3pm.

The tour is part of an extensive programme of talks, screenings, courses and workshops running at the Glucksman as part of The Sacred Modernist exhibition.

As well as the Rosa Mystica window, the exhibition includes Albers’s early drawings of churches and cathedrals, as well as his world famous Homages to the Square. It runs until Jul 8 and admission is free with a suggested €5 donation.

The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am-5pm, and on Sunday from 2pm-5pm.


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