The Boston Globe’s review of “Radiance Rediscovered: Stained Glass by Tiffany and La Farge” touches on the rivalry between two stained glass masters of the late 19th century and offers a close examination of the large, newly conserved windows on display. The exhibition is on view at the Worcester Art Museum through July 7th.
“Radiance Rediscovered: Stained Glass by Tiffany and La Farge,” a gently glowing show at Worcester Art Museum, uses a handful of windows from one Boston church to examine how two artists responded to the overt symbolism, occasional religiosity, and heightened beauty of Gilded Age aesthetics. But like “John La Farge and the Recovery of the Sacred,” a larger exhibition in 2015 at Boston College’s McMullen Museum of Art, this show chiefly underscores John La Farge’s genius.
In the 1890s, as the new Back Bay neighborhood burgeoned and wealthy donors opened their purse strings, the Mount Vernon Congregational Church moved from Beacon Hill to a prime spot at the corner of Beacon Street and Massachusetts Avenue.
Mount Vernon Congregational closed in 1975 and moved to worship in fellowship at Old South Church. The church donated three Tiffany windows and two by La Farge to the museum.
Before they were shipped, one of the Tiffany windows went missing. The rest were packed up and sent to Worcester, where they sat in storage for decades. Conservation work began in 2017. It took more than a year for conservators to take them apart, clean them, and restore them.
“Radiance Rediscovered,’ curated by T. Amanda Lett, a PhD candidate in History of Art & Architecture at Boston University, unveils the newly conserved windows, bright and twinkling as they were a century ago.