The words of interpretation found on this website were originally published in celebration of Second Baptist Church's Sesquicentennial in January, 1983. This section of the website, as well as the original printed brochure, are dedicated with love and gratitude to the Reverend Leon R. Robison, Jr., Minister Emeritus. The text is his interpretation of the Beatitude windows. Mr. Robison was minister of Second for twenty years, including the time when the sanctuary was built, and played a major role in the design and development of these unique windows.
AN APPROACH TO THE WINDOWS
See All That You Can See - See More Than You See
Great art and important symbols can lead every person to greater insight and a deeper understanding of the truths that are basic to life.
Second's windows, both art and symbol, are part of the total architectural plan to make central the presence of God in the universe.
When entering the sanctuary one is impressed by the simplicity and spaciousness of the design. There is a basic honesty and integrity in the entire structure. The brick walls are without plaster and the beams are open across the ceiling. The subdued coloring of the brick shading into the earthy brown pigment of the windows, and the birch wood of the pews, pulpit and communion table convey harmony and unity of purpose. The white expanse of the upper half of the windows and the brightness of the coulees over the cross sweep the building with light and give the worshiper a sense of magnitude and immensity.
The architect, in the overall conception of the building, used all the separate elements to give a total effect contributing to worship, each part conveying a special meaning when observed alone, as with the windows, but each contributing a larger meaning when viewed as a whole.
The architect for the building was Frederick Dunn. The windows were designed and painted by Siegfried Reinhardt and produced by Emil Frei.
The enamels used in painting became a fused part of the glass at a temperature of 1200 degrees. The iron brown pigment was chosen to harmonize with the brick. The rolled glass with bubbles and swirls is known as “seedy antique”. The nine windows are thirty-five feet high and six feet wide.
One of the objectives of the artist was to design the figures as human as possible to be appropriate to the scale of the building. The obvious exaggeration in these figures, as seen in the hands and faces, is deliberate, to give depth of meaning to the individual or situation portrayed. The chief purpose of the artist was to interpret the content and meaning of the Beatitudes.
To “see all that you see” in these windows, you will be aware of the skill of the artist in his use of shadow and reflected light, the delicate brush strokes, the intricate fabric of the garments, and the folds in the cloth. Another approach is to observe the feelings and moods expressed through the hands and the posture of each figure. There are four paintings of Christ, each expressing different facial features.