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Prophet Sophonias (Zephaniah)

  • Object:

    Panel

  • Place of origin:

    Cologne (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1470 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Clear, coloured and flashed glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain

  • Credit Line:

    Given by J. Pierpont Morgan, Jr

  • Museum number:

    C.77-1919

  • Gallery location:

    Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 84, The Whiteley Galleries, case S4

The Christian church has always believed that God spoke through his prophets. They were seen as the deliverers of God’s messages concerning the future, including the Coming of the Messiah. Zephaniah was one of the minor prophets.

Stained-glass panels with figures of the prophets bearing scrolls with text are known as ‘prophet (or messenger) panels’, because they convey these divinely inspired prophecies or messages.

The Book of Zephaniah in the Old Testament records his prophecies concerning the judgement of all nations on the ‘Day of the Lord’. The text on the scroll is abbreviated and translates from the Latin as: ‘On the day of my resurrection I shall gather the gentiles’.

Originally, the panel would have been placed above or below a larger one depicting a scene from the New Testament. This scene would be related to the prophecy recorded on the prophet’s scroll. Here it would be the image of the Resurrection of Christ. This arrangement is known as a ‘typology’, by which persons or events in the Old Testament are prophetic symbols of ones in the New Testament.

The panel was once in a series depicting the prophets. It may have been in the church of St Cecilia in Cologne. The windows from this church have been dispersed and can be found in other museum collections in Britain and in the United States.

Physical description

Stained glass panel depicting the Prophet Zephaniah, holding a sceptre accompanied by a scroll inscribed "IN DIE RESURRECTIOIS BETES".

Place of Origin

Cologne (made)

Date

ca. 1470 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Clear, coloured and flashed glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain

Marks and inscriptions

"IN DIE RESURRECTIOIS BETES"
Decoration; Incorporated into decoration; on the Prophet's scroll; stained glass

Dimensions

Diameter: 30.5 cm

Historical context note

From the earliest centuries of the Christian Church it was believed that God had spoken through his prophets. So they were thought of as the deliverers of His messages concerning the future including the Coming of the Messiah. The minor prophets include Zephaniah.

Stained glass panels with figures of the prophets bearing scrolls with text are known as 'prophet (or messenger) panels' because they convey these divinely inspired prophecies or messages.

The Book of Zephaniah in the Old Testament records his prophecies concerning the judgement of all nations in the Day of the Lord. The text on the scroll is abbreviated and translates from the Latin as:

On the day of my resurrection I shall gather the gentiles

The panel would have originally been placed above or below a larger panel depicting a scene from the New Testament. This scene would be related to the prophecy recorded on the prophet's scroll. Here it would be the image of the Resurrection of Christ. This arrangement is known as a 'typology' by which persons or events in the Old Testament are prophetic symbols of persons or events in the New Testament.

This panel was originally one a series depicting the prophets which may been in the Church of St. Cecilia in Cologne. The windows from this church have been dispersed and can be found in other museum collections in Britain and in the United States.

Descriptive line

Panel of clear, coloured and flashed glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain. Depicting the prophet Zephaniah holding a sceptre. Made in Germany (Cologne), 15th century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Williamson, Paul. Medieval and Renaissance Stained Glass in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 2003. ISBN 1851774041

Production Note

Cologne School

Subjects depicted

Robes; Sceptre; Prophets; Scrolls; Ermine

Categories

Stained Glass; Religion; Christianity

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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