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Sixteenth-century Stained Glass Exhibition in Basel

Fig. 1. Leonhard Thurneysser zum Thurn’s birth and interest in astrology, 1579, Christoph Murer, Glasgemälde Kunstmuseum Basel.

A fascinating exhibition of stained glass windows painted in 1579 by the brilliant Zürich based artist, Christoph Murer (1558–1614), has opened at the Kunstmuseum in Basel.

The windows were made for Leonhard Thurneysser zum Thurn (1531–1596), a remarkable sixteenth-century Swiss entrepreneur who became hugely wealthy after becoming personal physician to the Elector of Brandenburg in Berlin.

Thurneysser commissioned Murer to create a unique cycle of stained glass windows for his home in Basel. The cycle glorified Thurneysser’s life in a manner generally reserved for saints and princes and provoked strong criticisms in some quarters. Two windows and a fragment of a third have survived, together with three preliminary drawings. [Fig. 1]

Visitors to the exhibition may also see a special selection of designs for stained glass windows by artists like Holbein and Murer in the adjacent Department of Prints and Drawings.

The Thurneysser Superstar: Ein einzigartiger Glasmalereizyklus von 1579 exhibition will run until 13 February 2011.

The curator of the exhibition is Dr Bodo Brinkmann.

For more information see the Kunstmuseum website.