Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 180 (4/18): Stain Glass Beauties

I met Mark's sister on Saturday in Chicago and we walked down to Navy Pier.  One of my favorite days on the trip as it was relaxing to just walk around and check out the sights. My legs hurt like crazy from all the walking but it was well worth it.  There is a FREE (and we know how I like FREE) Stained Glass museum.  We discovered it by accident because it is tucked away inside so if you are headed up that way, make sure you take the time to find it.
We entered at the far end of the pier and entered into this small room with Tiffany stained glass.  They were absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking. I guess I remember my mom taking an art class and learning how to do stained glass.  She would have chunks of solid glass and then put the leading in it.  The Tiffany glass was marbled in color not solid.  It gave so much more depth to the pieces.

One of the coolest pieces in the Tiffany room was the following:

This piece had lights that were rigged so you could view it as someone would view it with differently throughout the day with changing light.  When the light is turned off you see only the milky white and the colors start to emerge as the light is turned on in intensity.  It really makes you appreciate the art of stained glass.

But cool as it is, the Tiffany gallery is fairly small, so we came out thinking, "Is that it?" That's a pretty small museum.  Oh no my friend, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Down the hall is the rest of the museum. With more stained glass than you could ever want to see....well I could probably see more since it was so interesting.

There are over 150 pieces in this museum and since most are from Chicago architecture, they give you a nice history of the city, in stained glass. Some of these pieces are enormous. There are stained glass door panels that would barely fit in my living room. The piece below consisted of tiny pieces of glass - each one about 1/4 - 1/2 inch triangular pieces. Someone had a lot of time on their hands but it is truly magnificent.

For me, it was surprising to note how recent some of these pieces were. Oh, there are some that are truly contemporary -- more on that in a minute -- but I'm talking about pieces from the mid-20th century. You think of stained glass as being something from the Renaissance, or maybe as late as the 19th century, but here are plenty of examples from the recent past.  The museum was organized in a timeline - Renaissance to Medieval to Gothic and many more periods are represented in glass.

I thought this was the 20th century and Marge from the Simpsons but it was not.  Probably time for me to quit writing and think about more intellectual things if I've got the Simpsons on my mind.

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