The Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows is a permanent display of 150 stained glass windows housed in an 800-ft.-long series of galleries along the lower level terraces of Festival Hall at Navy Pier in Chicago. Open since February 2000, it is the first museum in the United States dedicated solely to stained glass windows. It showcases both secular and religious windows and is divided by artistic theme into four categories: Victorian, Prairie, Modern and Contemporary. All of the windows were designed by prominent local, national and European studios and most were originally installed in Chicago area residential, commercial and religious buildings.
The windows provide unique insight into Chicago's cultural, ethnic and artistic history. The time period they represent, 1870 to the present, was an era of intense urban revision that featured the development, decline and revitalization of neighborhoods, the development of commercial and cultural institutions, the evolution of artistic styles and the response of various ethnic groups to these changes. The religious windows reveal the national and ethnic styles of Chicago's European immigrants, while the residential windows display the history of architecture and decorative art styles.
It is believed that Czech artist Alphonse Mucha designed the panels above known as the Four Seasons with the panels Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter from left to right.
Alphonse Mucha was born in 1860 in Ivancice, Moravia, which is near the city of Brno in the modern Czech Republic. Though Mucha is supposed to have started drawing before he was walking, his early years were spent as a choirboy and amateur musician. It wasn't until he finished high school (needing two extra years to accomplish that onerous task) that he came to realize that living people were responsible for some of the art he admired in the local churches. That epiphany made him determined to become a painter, despite his father's efforts in securing him "respectable" employment as a clerk in the local court.
Photo captured March 12, 2011.
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