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A Christian College Brings Contemporary Art to Chapel
Image: Courtesy of Peter Brandes Studio
The artist assembles the “red” windowpane using approximately 1,800 pieces of glass.

Blue, yellow, and red—those are the letters,” says celebrated Danish painter and sculptor Peter Brandes. “They’re like alpha and beta in the Bible: they are the beginning of everything. I could go on and make any language with those colors."

Color is the language Brandes speaks fluently in his most recent project, his third in the United States: four large contemporary stained glass windows for the newly constructed Christ Chapel at Cornerstone University, an evangelical college in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

For Christ Chapel’s westerly window, Brandes employed 250 sheets of hand-blown glass in 48 different shades of blue to explore the idea of baptism and rebirth. In the east, red represents the resurrection morning. To the north, yellow brings joy into the crucifixion scene, foretelling resurrection. To the south, a trio of complementary colors—green, violet, and orange—pays homage to the relationship between blessing and sacrifice in the Old Testament. Each window is made of about 1,000 pieces of glass.

The glass used for all of the windowpanes was blown by hand in France at a factory that is 300 years old.

The $14 million building is the first dedicated worship space in the nondenominational school’s 75-year history. It is a dramatic change of venue from the gym where chapel services were previously held, thanks in large part to Brandes’s windows. “As far as I know, there are no other Christian colleges taking on this type of scale and intentionality in designing a chapel site,” says Makoto Fujimura, artist and director of Fuller Theological Seminary’s Brehm Center. “Cornerstone’s effort is quite unique.”

“This is ...

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A Christian College Brings Contemporary Art to Chapel
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January/February 2016

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