St. Stephan, Mainz

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The Windows by Marc Chagall

Genesis: After the restoration of the church that had been badly damaged during the war, parish priest Klaus Mayer turned to the Jewish-Russian artist Marc Chagall (1887-1985) in the spring of 1973; he was kown as the master of colour and the biblical message. Klaus Mayer addressed him with the request to set up a sign in the East choir of St. Stephen's Church with stained glass windows of his own design. The contact was followed by letters and later personal encounters. In December 1976 the artist began with a design for a central window. On September 23, 1978, the first Chagall window with the "Vision of the God of the Fathers" was handed over to the parish community.
A few days later, the then 91-year-old artist began with the designs for the two flanking central windows with the "Vision of the History of Salvation." These two windows were opened on 15 September 1979.
At the turn of the year 1979/1980 once more the aged artist went to work in order to create the lateral windows of the East choir with the theme "Praise of Creation" and thus he completed the area of the choir. On September 19, 1981, the three lateral windows were handed over to the parish community. Together with them the Eastern choir has adopted its unity and thus the choir area possesses its optimal character of light, as the windows affect each other with a radiance of light.
Quite surprisingly, in late 1982 – Marc Chagall standing in the 96th year created – the designs for the three major three-lane-windows in the transept. He wanted to create an "entrance area", "Preparation" of the biblical message in the windows of the Eastchoir. On May 11 th, 1985 the parish community could receive the final windows by Marc Chagall shortly after his death on March 28 th, 1985.
The glass surface of all nine windows created by Marc Chagall in the East choir and the transept totals 177.6 square meters.
(Text by Monsignore Klaus Mayer, quoted from the "Kleiner Kunstführer zu St. Stephan in Mainz", Publishing House Schnell & Steiner, 16th revised edition 2012)

Picture credits:
Chagall, Marc / Marq, Charles, center window, The God of the Fathers © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2014
Photo credits: ars liturgica Book & Art Publishing House MARIA LAACH, 2014

English Translation: Reinhard Goebel, 2014

Bildnachweis:
Chagall, Marc/Marq, Charles, Mittelfenster, Der Gott der Väter
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2014
Fotorechte: ars liturgica Buch- & Kunstverlag MARIA LAACH, 2014