The Cold Genius

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Object Name: 
Stained Glass Panel
Title: 
The Cold Genius
Accession Number: 
2010.4.121
Dimensions: 
Overall H: 76.2 cm; Bottom W: 88.9 cm; Top W: 109.2 cm
Location: 
Not on Display
Date: 
2009
Credit Line: 
Gift of the Ennion Society
Web Description: 
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.
Department: 
Provenance: 
Claire Oliver Gallery, Source
Category: 
Inscription: 
J. S 2009
signature
enameled. bottom right side of glass
Primary Description: 
Colorless, red, blue, blue-green, orange, gold, and brown glasses, cut, plated, and assembled; black and brown enamel and grisaille painting; lead came. The panel is an irregular rectangle, widest at the top and tapering to the bottom. Details of the figure, such as the head and hands, are plated, as are the snowflakes. The colored and assembled glass is covered with a sheet of colorless glass to emphasize the winter scene. The window depicts a male figure lying on his side, wearing a red quilted robe, on top of a frozen pond. The pond is surrounded by winter trees, and snowflakes fall in the foreground. The scene is presented as if set on a stage, with diaphanous “curtains” framing the scene.
The Corning Museum of Glass: Notable Acquisitions 2010 (2011) illustrated, p. 65, #46; BIB# AI86878
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 2010 (2011) illustrated, p. 2;
The Gather (2011) illustrated, p. 16;
Recent Acquisitions: Modern Glass (2011) illustrated, p. 16; BIB# AI88816
Recent Important Acquisitions (New Glass Review 32) (2011) illustrated, p. 121, middle; BIB# AI95695