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13 July Jul 2018 0950 7 months ago

The industry in a stained glass window of Duomo di Milano

A detail of “Vetrata dei Cardinali” by János Hajnal

Glassmaking is an art that has developed along with the Duomo over the centuries. Indeed, for more than half a millennium the Cathedral has been lighted up by sunlight seeping in through the stained glass windows, filling visitors with awe. This form of art, which has been implemented at the Duomo since the early 1400s has a mysterious and enlightening charm.

Not everybody knows that the most recent stained glass window at the Duomo was made in the last quarter of the 20th century, precisely in 1988, more than five hundred years after the oldest ones at the Cathedral. Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo ordered it to pay homage to two leading pastoral figures of the Church of Milan who have recently been declared “Blessed”, namely cardinal Andrea Carlo Ferrari (Archbishop of Milan from 1894 to 1921) and Cardinal Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster (Archbishop of Milan from 1929 to 1954). Offered to the Duomo by Credito Commerciale, the stained glass window is the work of János Hajnal (1913-2010).

The window, named “Window of the Cardinals”, is 25 m² with a height of ca. 18 m. It is placed in the further right aisle and features bright hues, alternating the 15th century module of “stories” with the monumental one of the 16th century.

The impressive panel portrays the allegory of work: the man who is kneeling in prayer appears against the backdrop of typical elements of an industrial city of the 1900s, including a factory and a chimney.

Hajnal, Hungarian artist and illustrator, and a naturalised Italian, is considered a leading contemporary author of stained glass windows and of mosaics. He already partnered the Fabbrica in the 1950s. Hajnal created the large oval stained glass windows at Paul VI Hall, in the Vatican, which is also known as the Nervi Hall after its designer Pier Luigi Nervi, or Audience Hall.