"All this is visible to you by the light of an oil lamp hanging from the ceiling..." ~ Jane Eyre
I never take for granted the fact that I love so close to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That building is a shrine to me, and all of its contents are idols to be worsipped as if they were set on an alter.
This past weekend I stood delighted in the special exhibit "Louis Comfort Tiffany and Laurelton Hall—An Artist’s Country Estate." Not only did the collection highlight Tiffany's personal art collection, but so much of the estate was decorated by his own hand, so the weaving between the two throughout the exhibition rooms was beautiful.
Trying to figure out the etymology of his middle name proved difficult; I searched because his middle name is ironically so indicative of his artwork. I do not really connect the jewelry I wear from Tiffany's now with his art, as comforted as I am when I wear those pieces. It is the glass windows and stunning lamps and vibrant vases that give me comfort. As I stood infront of pieces in the collection, the beauty I absorbed through my eyes took me to a place of comfort.
Especially in the windows.
I wish I could step into those windows as Alice steps through the looking glass and just exist in the beauty of them for a while. The windows are textured in layers and jewels are prominant on many of the panels. I was struck the most by one he created of an autumn scene: pumpkins and eggplant. The color of the glass eggplant was as rich and deep as the purple on the skin of a real one.
During my very early years, my parents kept a Tiffany-style lamp above the dining room table. There are very few pieces I remember in terms of decor in the first house I lived in, but I do remember that lamp. Its as if you were always looking into a kaleidoscope when you stared towards the light of that chandelier. I associate that lamp, which they have in storage to this day, with my family.
Stained glass images have always been in my head during my life since Armenian churches are arrayed with stained glass windows all over. Religious figures aside, these glass panels tell stories of perseverance, strength, beauty, and love. What makes them so special, and Tiffany's windows so special, is that these insiprational feelings are illustrated both figuratively through the images and literally through the sunlight that enters each glass pane. The windows remind me that it is better to absorb and reflect than to just absorb, for as dark as the glass gets during the middle of the night, the sun will always be there to shine through in the morning.