Judith Schaechter is an influential artist and teacher, as well as an international leader in the production of artistic stained glass. Her works are generally displayed, and meant to be understood, as paintings, and not as architectural glass. Much of Schaechter’s work is inspired by music, and The Cold Genius came from her experience of the 17th-century aria “The Cold Song,” as performed by the German singer and musician Klaus Nomi (1944–1983). Nomi was well known in New York’s East Village scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s, a hotbed of development for punk rock, the visual arts, and the avant-garde. His performance of the piece, for which he was made up as a clown, was sung in a high, brittle, and otherworldly countertenor. “The Cold Song” was written for the opera King Arthur (1691) by Henry Purcell (British, 1659–1695), with libretto by the influential poet and dramatist John Dryden (British, 1631–1700). In the opera, a character known as the Cold Genius represents the spirit of winter, who, in the aria, acknowledges the power of love to warm the deepest cold, to thaw Winter itself. In this work, the scene is presented as if on a stage, with curtain-like shadows parting to reveal the Cold Genius, who is “frozen” from the viewer beneath a pane of colorless glass that covers the entire panel. Huddled in a brilliant red, quilted cloak, he lies unmoving on an ice-covered pond. His face conveys the pathos that is the hallmark of Schaechter’s uncomplaining protagonists, who silently experience suffering, loss, and redemption. Signed “J.S. 2009,” along lower edge. For more information, see Alex Baker, Extra Virgin: The Stained Glass of Judith Schaechter, Philadelphia: Free News Projects in collaboration with Lawrence Publications, 2006.