This gorgeous stained glass window is a new addition to the BYU Museum of Art permanent collection, now on display in the current exhibition To Magnify the Lord: Six Centuries of Art and Devotion.
The 11-foot window was part of the Astoria Presbyterian church in Queens, New York. Six stained glass windows were part of that original construction in 1922, donated by members of the congregation honoring benefactors and members.The windows were removed prior to the demolition of Astoria Presbyterian in 2008, and two of six windows are now in Provo, Utah – one now part of the BYU Museum of Art permanent collection and the other installed in the new Provo City Center Temple.
Stained glass windows have often been a source of inspiration, beauty, and of teaching. The first stained glass windows are from centuries ago, the first known example of stained glass windows from the 7th century. Stained glass windows were originally created to be a teaching tool, able to convey a Biblical story or message without the need to read anything – crucial for congregations in the Middle Ages and Renaissance when only the very elite few were literate. The scriptures were available to all through the stained glass windows.
Stained glass windows are surprisingly durable, as scores of examples of stained glass from the Middle Ages, some as early as the 12th century, are still fully intact in the Gothic cathedrals of Europe. Today, stained glass windows are still common in Christian churches, and many LDS temples employ decorative stained glass to add to the spirit and majesty of these houses of worship.
Now in the MOA collection, this gem from the Astoria Presbyterian Church has been painstakingly restored. The vibrancy of the colors and the meticulous detail work is now visible to all visitors who come to see this breathtaking piece at the BYU Museum of Art. Dramatically lit, its theme of the Savior at Jacob’s well with the woman on Samaria causes us to reflect on Jesus Christ as the Light of the World and the Wellspring of Living Waters.