The stained glass windows on the east side of First Presbyterian Church, St. Cloud, are copies of a John Singer Sargent oil painting, “The Frieze of the Prophets.” Sargent (1856-1925) born in Italy to American parents, spent most of his life in Europe and lived in London for many years. He established a reputation as a portrait painter of celebrities and fashionable people. Critics considered his portraits technically excellent but subjects often complained about his depiction of them. He later abandoned portrait painting and began architectural decoration. From 1895 to 1916 he painted a series of murals for the Boston Public Library showing scenes of Judaism and Christianity. The “Frieze of the Prophets” occupies the entire north wall of the exhibit. Moses stands in the center of the other Prophets holding tablets symbolizing the foundation of religion. The names appear in Hebrew and English. Sargent hoped the murals would be pleasing to the eye. The frieze became enormously popular. The Boston Library included some of the paintings in an illustrated catalogue, “The Copley Prints. ”In 1901 a church in Maine asked to use the Prophets in stained glass windows. The idea soon spread to other churches. The First Presbyterian Church installed the windows, copies of ﬁve of the 19 Prophets in the mural, in 1917 when they constructed their present building. Other Christian symbols surround the images of the Prophets. Guests are welcomed to view these windows at the First Presbyterian Church.
The Frieze of the Prophets
340 5th Ave So., St. Cloud, MN 56301 | 320.251.8277 | www.fpcstcloud.org