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.
TRADITIO LEGIS, (The Legal Tradition), 1906.
Designed and made by F. X. Zettler of Munich, Germany.
From St. Agatha Church, 3151 W. Douglas Blvd. Chicago.
76 1/2" H x 66 1/2" W
Stained and heavily painted cathedral glass. The compositions and painting technique developed by F. Mayer and F. X. Zettler both of Munich, Germany and the Tyrol Art Glass Co. Innsbruck, Austria (Tyroler Glasmalerei und Mosaik Anstalt, known as TGA) became known collectively as the Munich Style and had many North American followers.
The scene depicts the popular version of the traditio legis, Latin for legal tradition, of the founding of the Catholic Church by St. Peter in Rome, Italy. Originally St. Peter was called Simon, but Jesus gave him the Aramaic title of Kepha (John I, 42), meaning 'rock', of which the Greek equivalent become Peter in English. The title was explained when, in reply to Simon's declaration 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God', Jesus said to him, 'Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,' and conferred upon him 'the keys of the kingdom of Heaven' and the power of 'binding and loosing' afterwards extended to the other apostles (Matt. Xvi, 16-19; xviii,18). Thus this composition showing St. Peter kneeling before the standing Jesus who holds a key in His left hand and raises His right. Three apostles observe the event. The Church of St. Peter (the church of the Vatican, Rome, Italy) is shown in the background on a rock/mountain behind in a ring of clouds, within a Romanesque Revival vine frame.
St. Agatha Church was founded in 1893 to serve Irish families who had moved into the Lawndale area near Douglas Park on the west-side of Chicago. To meet the needs of a growing congregation, ground was broken October 1903 for a new church designed by the Chicago architectural firm of Prindiville and Egan. The cornerstone was placed on June 26, 1904. Two years later, on May 27, 1906, the official dedication was presided over by Archbishop James E. Quigley of Chicago and Archbishop John Glennon of St. Louis.
This stained glass window was donated by the Edward Byron Smith, Jr. Family to The Chicago Historical Society and is on loan to the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows and American Art at Navy Pier.
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