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STAINED GLASS, 216" X 14'4"

The Life of Erasmus is one of the most spectacular stained glass windows in a New York City public school.  It is situated at the front of a long, narrow auditorium that suggests a church nave.


The Collegiate Gothic architecture of the auditorium and the notion that the window should be representative of Tudor art--contemporaneous with the lifetime of Erasmus (1466-1536), the Dutch theologian and scholar for whom the school is named--dictated the style of the stained glass. The window combines a medieval mosaic of pot-metal glass with the naturalistic painted surfaces characteristic of Renaissance art. 


The window honors Erasmus, shown as a seated figure in the center of the window, a grid three panels high by seven across.  A Doctor of Theology, he wears a recognizable fur-lined purple robe, the device used to identify him in each of the panels.   On either side of Erasmus, groups of English female and male students are engaged in Greek lessons.  Below him, forming the window’s metaphorical and visual foundation, is a triptych depicting Erasmus at Cambridge, where he translated the Greek text of the New Testament into Latin. His version became indispensable to future generations of scholars.   Above Erasmus, an angel flanked by personifications of Philosophy, Literature, Science, and Theology, swoops down with a laurel crown, marking his momentous achievement.  Above the angel, and unifying the six central panels with the uppermost, peaked portion of the window, is a triumphal arch based on an amalgam of architectural styles.  The left and right segments of the window feature Erasmus as a pupil and teacher and illustrate various honors bestowed upon him. The diptychs on the left from top to bottom are: Presentation to King Henry VII by Sir Thomas Moore and Lord Mountjoy; Erasmus at Paris Instructing Several Englishmen, 1492; and Erasmus a Pupil in the School for the Brothers of the Common Life at Deventer, 1478.  On the right from top to bottom are: Making Acquaintance of Colet, Dean of St. Paul’s, 1497; Visiting Italy and Being made Doctor of Theology at Padua, 1506; and Admitted Bachelor and Doctor at Cambridge and Oxford, 1506.


Schools in building:
Academy for College Preparation and Career Exploration: A College Board School
Academy of Hospitality and Tourism
High School for Youth and Community Development at Erasmus
High School for Service & Learning at Erasmus
Science, Technology and Research Early College High School at Erasmus

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Time Period
Beautifying Schools in the Progressive Era