The New Stained-Glass Windows of Gütz
The action group Gützer Kirche e.V. was founded with the aim of restoring and reinstalling the seven stained-glass windows that once adorned the choir of the village church in Gütz. We want our church to get its art back.
Only seven fragments of the original tripartite windows have survived, and some of them are damaged. While four fragments belong to the windows showing the Apostle Paul and Jesus, the heads are all that is left of Luther and Melanchthon. The seventh fragment is an ornamental pattern. Everything else was either vandalized or left to go to ruin during the communist period. There are two windows that cannot be reconstructed from the available sources, and the solution found for these is one that we are very excited about: Called “The One Who Looked Away,” the first of these windows will reflect the period of decline, while the other, “The One Who Rebuilt,” will stand for the period after 1990, when the people of Landsberg, aware of their hard-won freedom and the responsibility that came with it, threw themselves into the task of reviving their pretty little church and fixing up the adjoining cemetery. “New Art on the Luther Trail” was the motto selected for the restoration of the stained-glass windows in Gütz. The restoration of the plastering inside the barrel vault and the late-nineteenth-century ceiling painting that once adorned it is also part of the undertaking.
We were thrilled to be able to win the support of the famous German painter and sculptor Markus Lüpertz for our project. His role is to design several new sections with which to complete the historical fragments so that all seven windows can be reinstated in their entirety. Lüpertz is an artist of great caliber and experience and has an unmistakable hand; we are therefore confident that his designs will reflect not just the church’s elegant architecture and Baroque interior, but also the aims and aspirations of the Reformation, thus tracing an arc from the period in which the original stained-glass windows were made to our own day. It will be fascinating to find out how Lüpertz approaches these themes, and we look forward to seeing his interpretation realized in a superb new work of art. That, after all, is what the motto “New Art on the Luther Trail” stands for: restored windows which both contrast and harmoniously combine the historical and the contemporary in a magnificent interaction of old and new—and Lüpertz’s debut in eastern Germany.
The glasswork is to be executed by Derix, a glass-making studio with a long tradition of developing glass art in collaboration with artists of worldwide renown. The fruits of its labors thus promise to be a tour de force of art and craftsmanship.
We want future visitors to experience the synthesis of art, painting, and architecture in the play of colors and shapes set in motion by light flooding through the glass. This may lead them to explore the many and varied ways in which church and modern art relate to each other, and perhaps to ask themselves some deeper questions, too. After all, this is a place which was created to celebrate closeness to God, which is why church interiors have always been ideal art venues.
As an exciting and challenging new attraction, “New Art on the Luther Trail—Markus Lüpertz in Eastern Germany” promises to draw visitors from all over Germany and abroad, who we are sure will find it well worth the detour from the classic Luther heritage itinerary.
Our aim is to see this project through to completion before the end of the Luther Decade. Please help us!
Thank you for your interest!