Christ's Ancestors, in 12th-Century Glass

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Six life-sized stained glass windows from Great Britain's Canterbury Cathedral are making an appearance at the Cloisters Museum.

It's the first time the windows, depicting the ancestors of Jesus Christ, have left the Cathedral since their creation in the late 12th century.

Stephen Murray, professor of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, said the seated figures are depicted in bright, vibrant colors, and appear almost alive.

"The figures are animated, they're sculptural, they're three-dimensional, they're seated, but they seem, some of them, almost to want to leap up and get out of their seat," he said, adding that their arrangement in the Cathedral tells a story.

"The Canterbury figures that we are looking at formed a part of a great sweep that ran in a clockwise direction around the clerestory of the choir, into the east end and back again, beginning with the creation of Adam, and ending with the Incarnation of Christ," he said.

The windows will be on display at the Cloisters through mid-May.


(Images from the Ancestors of Christ Windows, Canterbury Cathedral, England, 1178-80 by Robert Greshoff Photography, courtesy Dean and Chapter of Canterbury.)


Gisele Regatao


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Comments [2]

Judith Targove from Highland Park, NJ

The figure of Abraham (?) is shown twice. Is this an error or are there two representations at Canterbury?

Mar. 03 2014 01:05 PM
Donald Diamond

The photographs of the windows that are part of this story are spectacular by themselves. Thank you from someone who is not able to go to the Cloisters.

Mar. 03 2014 08:41 AM

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