Nicola D'Ascenzo - Stained Glass Master Craftsman
January 16, 2013
You may wonder why I am writing about a stained glass craftsman who lived from 1871 - 1954? No mystery, really. He is the maker of some beautiful windows we may acquire for the renovated church.
D'Ascenzo immigrated to the United States from Italy in 1892 and studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He then taught painting until he could open up his own studio. The artist championed a Gothic revival in stained glass making and became reknowned for his own style of glass with strong reds and blues and a more disciplined style compared with Tiffany and LaFarge, especially for his ecclesiastical glass.
D'Ascenzo Studios thrived even during the Great Depression - a tribute to the reputation and skill of this master craftsman, whose Philadelphia studios were not so much a factory as an artisan's guild.
His works are collected and traded at auction, and his stained glass still bathes admirers in colored light all around the world. Here are just a few of his commissions: The Seven Ages of Man window in Shakespeare's Folger Library in Washington, DC; the chapel windows in the Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge, PA; "Nipper" the RCA dog, the West Window in Princeton University's Chapel; windows in the Washington National Cathedral, the Horn and Hardart windows in NY and PA; and closer to home, the cathedrals in Newark and Philadelphia, St. George's by the River and the former Bishop's Chapel in Trenton, NJ.