Now Featured in the Patheos Book Club
Tiffany's Swedenborgian Angels:
Stained Glass Windows Representing the Seven Churches from the Book of Revelation
By Mary Lou Bertucci and Joanna Hill; Foreword by Reverend Susannah Currie
In 1902, a Swedenborgian church in Glendale, Ohio, commissioned the seven windows as a gift for their sister church in Cincinnati. Each window depicts an angel that represents one of the seven churches described in the book of Revelation. The windows were designed and created in the studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany, and they reflect not only the rich symbolism found in the Bible, but Tiffany's hallmark color and brilliance. Tiffany's love of revealing angels in stained glass shines through in every panel.
A heavenly combination of Tiffany's art, Swedenborgian philosophy, and angelic influence is contained within this book and within the windows that are its focus. More than one hundred years after the windows were created in 1902 by Louis Comfort Tiffany for a Swedenborgian church in Cincinnati, which was later destroyed, the windows have found a new life. They were held in storage for several decades, rediscovered in 2001, restored, and are traveling to museums and galleries for all to enjoy.
Based on biblical passages, in the form of letters addressed to the seven cities of Asia Minor that open the book of Revelation, the windows illustrate the deep inner meaning of these messages. The angels themselves represent each of the seven cities; they also can be seen to symbolize the stages of the development of the Christian church as well as the stages of spiritual evolution of a person.
Each angel has a lesson to convey to those who understand the symbolism of the text and the imagery contained within the beautiful Tiffany stained glass. Their value is further enhanced by explanations of historical importance, biblical background, and inner spiritual meaning as described by Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). Understanding the rich background and many levels of meaning can provide a transformative experience for those who appreciate their inner and outer beauty.
Tiffany's Swedenborgian Angels guides the reader not only through the history of the windows, but the spiritual meaning of each one, weaving Swedenborg's teachings with the luminous imagery of the angels themselves. If you have seen the exhibition, the book allows you to revisit the windows again any time; if you have not, it is a powerful introduction to a vivid piece of spiritual history.
What People Are Saying:
"I am very impressed by the amount of research that [the book] synthesizes and presents in such digestible form. It's a beautiful piece of writing that spans scholarship, meditation, and spiritual guidance."
—Lynne Ambrosini, Ph.D., Chief Curator, Taft Museum of Art
"Tiffany's Swedenborgian Angels is beautiful both visually and in ideas. It takes intriguing symbolism from Revelation along with gorgeous, hand-made glass artwork and relates it all to our own spiritual growth. This book provides an introduction to hearing God's call to each one of us to awaken, to put aside the stumbling blocks, and to draw closer to him."
—Karin Childs, head of the Oak Arbor Church Bookroom
"The book of Revelation has more to discuss than doomsday prophecy. Tiffany's Swedenborgian Angels: Stained Glass Windows Representing the Seven Churches from the Book of Revelation discusses the art behind the book of Revelations, created on stained glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Presented in full color with connections to the theories of Emanuel Swedenborg connected strongly, Tiffany's Swedenborgian Angels is of strong interest to anyone with a fascination with religiously-inspired art and the book of Revelations."
—Midwest Book Review/Wisconsin Bookwatch: August 2011
"Art and spirituality reside together comfortably, and beautifully, in this book."
—Alex Moore, ForeWord Reviews, September, 2011
"Seven exquisite stained glass windows are presented in full color in this oversize paperback. Each angel bears the name of one of the seven ancient cities of Asia Minor: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, etc. Geographical and historical background is provided for each city. Every angel also presents a message, conveyed by an inscription and by symbolic details of the art. The angelic wisdom or deeper spiritual meaning of each message is explained. The text, enhanced by over seventy small color illustrations, is based on the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and focuses in particular on St. John's letters to the churches in each of the ancient cities.