The Hill Art Foundation
Paradise Found: a stained glass masterpiece
New York City, USA
It is an exquisite example of stained glass art. Completed by Renaissance artist Valentin Bousch in 1533, The Creation and the Expulsion from Paradise presents us with a portal back in time, to the 16th century, when light filtered through stained glass was believed by some to take on a powerful, sacred quality: lumen.
It’s easy to see why. Bousch’s window comprises vivid green, red, purple, blue and clear glass with silver stain and vitreous enamel. The rich colors and dynamic figures do indeed appear almost luminous – following a period of painstaking conservation work and a new design for display.
The three lancets depict a single Christian narrative. On the left, we can see Christ as the Creator of the world; in the center, the creation of Adam and Eve in Paradise, encircled by a silvery band depicting the Sun, Moon, and stars with the Tree of Knowledge and animals in the background. On the right, the inevitable unhappy ending: the Archangel is expelling Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden for having tasted forbidden fruit.
Goppion was commissioned to realize the design of a new display system designed by Stephen Saitas Designs, with lighting by Anita Jorgensen. A 10’ wide x 12’ high door suspended on two of Goppion’s proprietary hinges allows for access to the panels for installation and conservation. The door is constructed of milled aluminum and powder-coated steel to represent the details of renaissance window casework in modern, conservation grade materials.
Behind the glass, seamless LED light panels have been installed on an innovative track system to allow for service or replacement without the need to demount the stained glass.
The Creation and Expulsion window is just one of only four Bousch stained glass works still know to exist. Previously on display at the MET Cloisters, it moved to a new semi-permanent home at the Hill Foundation in September 2022.
Courtesy of Hill Art Foundation - Photo credit: Matthew Herrmann