First in this section comes general views of our eleven stained glass windows, starting with the "Life of Christ" series of eight, the central arched "Good Shepherd" window, then the Prayer Chapel & Children's Chapel windows.
The detail views of each and their artistic sources follow, episode by episode starting with the "Adoration of the Shepherds" and on through the sequence . . . plus, our lost "twelfth" window is remembered.
Anyone who has a better photo of both the "Flight into Egypt" and "Young Jesus in the Temple" windows, please send them in -- being north windows, the light is a challenge, and I'm sure we have a photographer out there who has worked around that (or just has a better camera).
Following this point, we look more closely at a particular detail in each window in the "Life of Christ" series and a number of details in the "Good Shepherd" window, along with the artistic background of each. The "twelfth window" is described further down.
In many of the ancient versions of this episode visually presented, there's an attempt to show John the Baptist somehow dry-shod and on shore, given the tension between the story as we have it in scripture, and the church's move to sprinkling and/or infant baptism. You sometimes see John posed very, very awkwardly!
Each of our sanctuary windows has six medallions around the edge (except the Good Shepherd window, which is a whole different discussion!), each of which incorporates the imagery of a rose at the heart, and Easter lilies as trumpets all around -- they are announcements of the cross and the Resurrection, the heart of who Jesus is.
But first, the background. The Plockhorst original from the mid-1850s has a washed-out background, set "nowhere" but with the black sheep and most of the arrangement we're used to. By the time we get to the American Warner Sallman (artist of "Head of Christ," the depiction of Jesus that became so normative during World War II), he knew both about photography, and also that photography was threatening to displace artistic renditions of the life of Christ. He places his reworking of "The Good Shepherd" into the valley behind Migdal, on the northeast corner of the Sea of Galilee -- this is where Mary Magdalene, Mary of Migdal is from.
At the very peak, a dove descending as we've already seen in the Baptism window, and seven rays of light -- these are evoking the seven qualities of Christ stated in Revelation 5:12 & restated in 7:12 -- “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”
Holman Hunt, through the latter 1800s, was a primary influence on symbolism and storytelling in Christian art. Mary on the lower left is looking into a box with the gifts, carefully preserved, from the Magi, and then looks up horrified at young Jesus' shadow, as he straightens up from his work as a carpenter and stretches . . . Holman Hunt's title of this work is "The Shadow of Death."