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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Gallery centers on angels named for Revelations

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Image provided
After journeying around Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, the late artist Louis C. Tiffany, son of jeweler and founder of Tiffany & Co., was inspired by the artwork he saw on his voyage.
Shortly after returning home, he opened his own studio dedicated to restoring and creating glasswork.
Currently on display in Forsyth Galleries, the traveling exhibition, “In Company With Angels,” features stained glass artwork, each piece displaying an angel named for a city mentioned in the Biblical book of Revelations.
In 1903 the windows were installed in the sanctuary of a Cincinnati, Ohio, Swedenborgian Church, said Amanda Dyer, assistant director at Forsyth Galleries.
The massive stained glass windows were put in storage where they were forgotten until about 2001. The windows underwent restoration in 2004, Dyer said.
“This traveling exhibition was chosen for the Forsyth Galleries because of the collecting focus of the Forsyth,” Dyer said. “The Bill and Irma Runyon Art Collection is the founding collection of the Forsyth Galleries. The largest portion of the Runyon Collection is 18th and 19th century American and English art glass, including almost 50 pieces of Tiffany glass.”
The angels are Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. Each angel is holding a symbolic gift to each city.
The pieces are set up in a dim room and lights behind the windows give the impression that there is sunlight filtering through.
“It’s really dramatic to come in and walk in and see those huge windows that are just so gorgeous,” said Rachael Bible, who works in the Forsyth Galleries. “I’m really pleased with the exhibit that’s up right now, I think it’s really pretty.”
While the windows do have a religious affiliation, Bible said students from any religious background would be able to appreciate the beauty of the pieces.
“I know a lot of people who are religious — Christians specifically — really do enjoy it,” Bible said. “And a lot of people, actually, who are not religious, or not Christian, really enjoy it too because they’re just really beautiful pieces.”
“Windows produced by Tiffany Studios are known for their depth of color and for the physical texture of the glass that was used,” Dyer said.
The depth comes from layering several sheets of glass on top of each other, and these windows have as many as four different layers of glass, creating noticeable textures, Dyer said.
“Tiffany Studios’ glass artisans used incredibly difficult techniques to create waves and ripples in the molten glass,” Dyer said. “With close observation one can see this in the draping of the angel’s garments and even in the feathers of their wings.”
Setting up the windows in the gallery was a huge project, Bible said.
“Our collections manager and our director and a lot of the office people were here overseeing it and making sure that it got put where it was,” Bible said. “Especially for [pieces] as large as those, it’s a really delicate undertaking. The fact that [The Angels] are traveling at all is really impressive.”
Dyer said the true beauty lies in the craftsmanship of the pieces, not just in their message.
“The windows are gorgeous pieces of art, so anyone who appreciates beauty will enjoy them,” Dyer said. “The work that went into each window’s construction is unimaginable unless one has a background in glass work.”
Avery McConathy, mechanical engineering sophomore, visited the exhibit and said the windows were impressive.
“It’s really cool to be able to get up close [to the windows],” McConathy said. “They’re beautiful and you can see the very intricate details up close. It’s very artistic and very pretty.”
The exhibit is on display until Oct. 12 on the second floor of the MSC at Forsyth Galleries.

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