Kaiser Maximilian I.

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Emperor Maximilian I (1459 - 1519)

After an oil painting by Bernhard Strigel (c. 1460 – 1528)
Switzerland, c.1840
43 × 27.5cm
Clear glass, blue and red flashed glasses with etching over wide areas, green glass, black, brown and red vitreous paint, yellow silver stain; excellent painting of the braids


This is a very fine example of the glass-painter’s art from the nineteenth century, and is a copy after the portrait of Kaiser Maximilian I in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich. The view through the window on the right, of a rocky mountain formation with three male figures, is a variant what is seen in the Munich painting, and points to the three confederates of the Swiss foundation legend: Walter Fürst from Uri, Wilhelm Staufacher from Schwyz and Arnold von Melchtal from Unterwalden, who swore an oath to eternal confederacy on the Rütli meadow above Lake Lucerne. A Swiss provenance may therefore be assumed for the glass-painting.

Swiss legend and Swiss history are here unified in one picture: the oath sworn on the Rütli meadow in 1291 marked the start of the confederates’ struggle for freedom from thei Habsburg overlords, whose ancestral seat was in Aargau.

This panel offers much leeway for interpretation, and in particular allows one to conclude that the artist was a multi-talented, extraordinary glass-painter.

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Stained-glass, Emperor Maximilian I