27”H X 22”W X 12”D • 70 LBS
Having visited Westminster Abbey in London, Rockwell was inspired to portray this scene for his 309th cover of The Saturday Evening Post on April, 1960 just before Easter Sunday. The painting is now part of the collection at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA.
Norman Rockwell tried several attempts at portraying the ethereal, and translucent affect that stained-glass windows seemed to possess. Having visited Westminster Abbey in London, Rockwell had witnessed a man on a scaffold attempting to repair one of the stained-glass windows. He was inspired to portray this scene for his 309th cover of The Saturday Evening Post on April 16, 1960, just before Easter Sunday. Norman Rockwell would have a total of 322 covers for the popular publication spanning the years between 1916 through 1963.
With several failed attempts at capturing the right look, Rockwell decided to call upon some experts who could help. Rowan and Irene LeCompet had just finished designing a stained-glass window for the National City Christian Church in Washington D.C. They brought their designs to Rockwell as they gave him guidance and Rowan eventually became the model for the workman in the scene. The stained-glass window itself can be seen in Washington D.C. but the onlooker may notice a difference between the window and Rockwell’s rendition of it. The scene in the window shows the resurrection of Jesus Christ as two angels carry his body up. Rockwell however, decided to replace the body of Christ with a large cross. The painting is now part of the collection at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA.
The sculpture allows us to see the workman’s concentrated face as he repairs the missing glass panels in the center of the stained-glass window. To fix a break in a stained-glass window, the workman would have to first remove the broken sections by expanding the lead borders that connect and hold each piece together and replace them with new stained-glass pieces before soldering the lead back into place. Each dark outline on a stained-glass window is a lead border holding a single piece of colored glass in place. For this sculpture, the artists at the world famous “Judson Studios” in Los Angeles, CA, were able to replicate the look of the lead borders by sealing each piece of stained glass, that together form the image, with copper tape, then cementing it into place.
The cement also allows for the bright copper to take on the look of the dark lead. Then, each line of copper is soldered over to keep the entire stained-glass window as one piece. The end result is a breathtaking, miniature version of the stained-glass window the LeCompet’s created for a church in Washington D.C.
The Norman Rockwell piece of stained glass for this sculpture is 22″H x 19½”W, making it too small to use the conventional lead, but rather leaving us the opportunity to have a magnificent bronze and glass sculpture scene through the eyes of America’s most iconic artist.
Stained Glass Artistry, The Saturday Evening Post, April 16, 1960