Stop 13: Second Presbyterian Church

1936 Michigan Ave Chicago

The Driehaus Museum Presents Chicago Tiffany Trail/Stop 13: Second Presbyterian Church
The Richard H. Driehaus Museum
Written By The Richard H. Driehaus Museum

The Richard H. Driehaus Museum explores the art, architecture, and design of the late 19th century to the present. Its permanent collection and temporary exhibitions are presented in an immersive experience within the restored Nickerson Mansion, completed in 1883. Vibrant educational and cultural programs, as well as exhibitions, place the Gilded Age in context and illuminate the history, culture and urban fabric of Chicago. Photo by Alexander Vertikoff, 2014.

Second Presbyterian Church

Once the church for many leading citizens of Gilded Age Chicago, Second Presbyterian Church contains many examples of Tiffany ecclesiastical windows. The Gothic Revival exterior was designed by architect James Renwick, while the Arts and Crafts style interior was designed by Howard Van Doren Shaw and muralist Frederic Clay Bartlett after a fire in 1900 caused extensive damage.

There are nine Tiffany stained-glass windows on display in Second Presbyterian: Pastoral Window; Behold the Lamb of God; Jeweled Window; Angel in the Lilies; Saint Paul Preaching at Athens; Mount of the Holy Cross; Peace Window; Angel at the Open Tomb (Angel of the Resurrection); and Christ Blessing the Little Children. These windows were created between 1892-1918 and installed between 1894-1927.

Second Presbyterian Church displays a wide variety of abstract and figurative ecclesiastical windows. The Jeweled Window from 1893 depicts an opulent cross made of glass jewel molds against a background of vines, while Saint Paul Preaching in Athens from 1895 is a complex scene involving many characters and the Parthenon in the background. Both of these windows, as well as Christ Blessing the Little Children, have an additional eighteen-inch border around them made by Chicago glass artists, Giannini & Hilgart, the same firm responsible for producing the Driehaus Museum’s glass dome. Another connection to the Driehaus Museum’s collection is the Pastoral Window designed by Agnes Northrup. A watercolor landscape created by Northrup is a part of the Driehaus Museum’s permanent collection and is on display in the Eternal Light exhibition. (Stop 5 on Chicago’s Tiffany Trail)

Recently, the Peace Window from 1903, was restored by Venturella Studio in New York. The 7,500 pieces of glass were individually cleaned, and the entire window was re-leaded. The restoration process took more than a year. The final product not only shows off Tiffany’s eye for color, but also his interest in art history as the Peace Window is based on a 13th century European design. The window depicts three angels: one of peace, one of hope, and one of consolation. The angels are woven throughout brightly colored geometric patterns, recalling medieval manuscript illustrations.

Limited tour hours: Wednesdays 1-3pm, Saturdays 11am-3pm, Sunday after services 12:15pm, Call 1-800-657-0687 if you would like to arrange a private group tour at a different time

Cover photo credit: yooperann via Flickr.

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The Driehaus Museum Presents Chicago Tiffany Trail

Stop 13: Second Presbyterian Church

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