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FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2007

Majestic illuminations

December 09, 2007|Kristina Lindgren

KNOWING well the power of assembled bits of colored glass "to illumine men's minds so they may travel through it to an apprehension of God's light," French Abbot Suger filled the church of Saint-Denis with biblical iconography in stained glass in the 12th century, launching a revolution in Gothic architecture that spread across Europe.

Swiss architect Le Corbusier, who described the history of architecture as "an insatiable struggle over the course of centuries in favour of light," often used stained glass to enhance interior spaces, perhaps most imaginatively in the chapel in Ronchamp, France, displayed in glorious color in "Stained Glass" by art historian Xavier Barral i Altet (Thames & Hudson: 216 pp., $60).

So too are majestic creations by artists Marc Chagall, Fernand Leger, Henri Matisse and Christian Oehler, as well as architects Antoni Gaudi and Frank Lloyd Wright, in this sumptuous survey of stained-glass masterpieces.

-- Kristina Lindgren

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