Stained Glass of Boston College

Sunday, December 8th, 2013
Gargan Hall in Bapst Library, Boston College

Gargan Hall in Bapst Library, Boston College

Brian’s an active BC alumnus … hockey games, football games, etc … but today was a little different. Today we went to a BC event for alumni art lovers.

BC is home to some absolutely gorgeous art and architecture, and we attended a talk about some of the spectacular stained glass. I’ve seen spectacular stained glass in many many churches, so I’ve seen religious themes represented in glass in countless ways. It was so refreshing to see a gorgeous cycle of windows in a library where the themes included art, literature, poetry, science and law, etc. I’ve seen the Passion of Christ in stained glass plenty of times, but I had never seen scenes from the Iliad or from Hamlet. Absolutely gorgeous.

A scene from the Fine Arts window (Gargan Hall in Bapst Library). This scene depict Michelangelo, painter, sculptor (the David) and architect (of the dome of St. Peter's Cathedral).

A scene from the Fine Arts window (Gargan Hall in Bapst Library). This scene depict Michelangelo, painter, sculptor (the David) and architect (of the dome of St. Peter’s Cathedral).

The talk started in Bapst Library’s Gargan Hall, which looks a lot like a church. It has fourteen spectacular stained glass windows depicting important figures and scenes from the history of key disciplines in Jesuit education:  (in order of the windows) religion, oratory, poetry & drama, prose, modern languages, fine arts, history & education, useful arts, natural science, political science, philosophy, theology, law and medicine.   Then, we went in the adjacent stairwell to look at the renowned Shakespeare window, and then a window representing significant moments in the history of the written word.

Then we went in to the Thompson Room at the far end of Gargan Hall (technically part of Burns Library at that point). This space would have been the main alter of the hall had been a church, and this room was filled with stained glass scenes from epic poems: The Iliad, The Odyssey,  The Divine Comedy and The Aeneid. Then, we headed over to Casson Hall to talk about a spectacular window in the Irish Room before adjourning for refreshments in the rotunda.

Then Brian took me on a little tour of his own to point out a few memorable spots around campus. We popped in to see a lovely Courbet exhibit at BC’s McMullen Museum of Art, then went for tuna melts.

Click here for a pdf that goes in to detail about each stained glass panel in Bapst Library

 

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