Old + New: Gerhard Richter in the Köln Cathedral

Once you have adjusted yourself to the austere atmosphere and sheer size of Kölns majestic cathedral, your eyes will be drawn upwards as was exactly the intention of the Gothic style: all attention in one direction; to heaven, to the light. And light is amply provided by the many huge coloured glass stained windows with scenes from the bible. With one surprising exeption.

In the western apse of the cathedral, you will suddenly  find a completely different window style: no biblical scenes, but a modern, geometrical pattern. Something you won’t expect in a Gothic cathedral.

Today, the western apse, built in 1863, is illuminated through a massive stained glass window with an abstract image, designed in 2007 by Gerhard Richter (1932)

Richter, who lives and works in Köln, made the work for free after a contest to replace the temporary windows after the originals were ruined in World War II. Richter composed his window with 72 colours to produce 11.500 coloured glass tiles. He then used a computer program to randomly distribute the coloured tiles  over the surface resulting in the abstract pixel like image that admits a wash of aureate illumination into the cathedral’s gloomy immensity.


Combine with…

Lunch or coffee in Bar Schmitz
Central Mosque

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