Good Samaritan

Reverse Painting Technique in Stained Glass:

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Good Samaritan

Rudy Brothers Company

Good Samaritan

RUDY BROTHERS COMPANY

  • Types of glass: 1. Opalescent 2. Mottled 3. Striated 4. Mild Drapery 5. Herringbone

  • Painting

  • Multilayers

  • Early 20th century

 

As seen here, J. Horace Rudy created windows with brilliant colors. This window was originally installed at the North Congregational Church in Haverhill, Massachusetts. It is unsigned, which is not unusual for a window by the Rudy Brothers Company.

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • In this window, paint has been applied to the back of the opalescent glass. The Rudy Brothers excelled at this technique. Notice how it softens the appearance of the window and adds another dimension. The painting diffuses the light as it passes through the glass plates, creating an impressionistic quality.

  • The leading in the front and back plates adds movement to the scene.

BIBLICAL STORY OF THE WINDOW

This window depicts the Parable of the Good Samaritan in which a traveler is robbed, beaten, and left for dead on the side of the road. A passing Samaritan is the only person who stops to help the injured man. He gives the man water from his canteen and bandages his wounds with his scarf. He then gently lifts the man onto his animal and walks with him to the nearest city. Finally, he finds the man a room at an inn and pays for his room and board.  Thus, the expression “good Samaritan” refers to someone who stops to help a stranger.

The figures in this window have been expertly created to illustrate the parable. The good Samaritan shows compassion. He wears an expression of concern, and his body leans toward the injured man. He gently offers a container of water. The injured man has a grave expression. He slumps forward in a seated position, holding his hand to his forehead. Despite a healthy physique, he is clearly in physical and perhaps emotional pain.

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Detail of Good Samaritan

Rudy Brothers Company

Detail of Good Samaritan

Rudy Brothers Company

J. Horace Rudy (1870-1940)

Rudy Brothers Company

J. Horace Rudy and his three brothers may not have planned on going into business together—one was a chemist and another was a baseball player! However, they combined their artisanal skills and developed a reputation as talented stained glass artists. The Rudy Brothers Company produced hundreds of stained glass windows for churches, businesses, mausoleums, and homes from Pittsburgh to the Midwest.

After technical training at Spring Garden Institute, J. Horace Rudy apprenticed with a furniture maker and then with Alfred Godwin’s Philadelphia glass studio. He had a master teacher in Fredrick Wilson who worked for the firm a brief time that overlapped with the period when Rudy was there. Horace left to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts at about the same time Wilson left to work for Louis C. Tiffany.

In 1893, Horace moved to Pittsburgh, reportedly at the request of H. J. Heinz who wanted him to create windows for his mansion and his factory. By the following year, Horace and his three brothers had opened a partnership in Pittsburgh with Valdemar F. Reich, who left the business a year later. The Rudy Brothers experienced substantial success. They opened a second studio in York, Pennsylvania, around 1900. They incorporated in 1904. Although they faced difficulties during the Great Depression, the business continued until 1962. The brothers developed good working relationships with architects who provided them with work.

J. Horace Rudy created windows with brilliant colors. He also used an unusual technique for an American School artist, applying paint to the back of opalescent glass. Additionally, the firm used techniques like those of Louis C. Tiffany and John La Farge, such as layering of glass. This multi-faceted approach to window design resulted in stunning creations, such as the Woman with Jug and Good Samaritan windows in our Collection. Rudy Brothers windows are usually not signed.