The Fraumünster Church is one of two cathedrals in the Swiss city of Zurich. The other is the Grossmünster, and both are located in the historic center of the city.
As for the Fraumünster, its translation is something like the Cathedral of the Nuns or of the Women, since it was originally a female abbey, enormously powerful in the development economic and political life of the city.
Its origins date back to 853, whenLouis the Germanicordered its construction to be given to his daughter Hildegard, to whom he granted full authority over the temple, in addition to allocate them rich lands and forests.
But the privileges of Fraumünster Abbey throughout history did not end here. In fact, in the year 1045, King Henry II extended them even further, granting him the right to mint money, collect tolls and hold markets. All this meant that the abbess became the most powerful person in Zurich for a long time. Moreover, when in 1218, she was given independence, and she alone was obliged to render an account to the emperor, who at that time wasFrederick II.
In short, the abbey from its Romanesque origins gradually grew, carrying out new constructions in a moreclose to gothic. However, of the entire complex, only the temple itself remains, since both the cloister and the different abbey rooms were demolished during the 19th century.
Despite that magnificent construction, the original crypt is still worth visiting, as well as the bell tower topped by a slender blue spire
The history of this temple is a good example of the past itself and the evolution of the city. Since its power grew considerably from its beginnings in the 9th century to the 14th, when the guild groups gradually took more power. And so it went until the 14th century, when the more radical members of the Swiss Reformation finally dissolved the abbey.
And not only that, that reformist current, guided by Ulrich Zwingli, also caused the destruction of a large part of its artistic heritage, since they considered that churches should not There should be nothing to mislead the faithful, who should only "hear the voice of God". Therefore, the temple was almost bare in those years.
In part this is why, centuries later, embellishment work was undertaken on the church, specifically on its stained glass windows. First with some works he made in 1933,Augusto Giacometti, nephew of the famous Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti. And decades later for a commission made to Marc Chagall.
Chagall's stained glass windows in the Fraumünster in Zurich
Chagall (1887 – 1985), a Russian, Jewish artist living in France, made five stained glass windows in 1970, that is, at a very advanced age. However, the stained glass windows are a glorious color, especially when viewed at sunrise.
These are five stained glass windows, each with a different background tone (blue, red, green, yellow and orange) on which scenes from the Old and New Testaments appear. Some scenes that are better appreciated when approaching the stained glass windows, since from a distance the set of colors filtering the light, gives them a somewhat amorphous appearance.
This is a magnificent example of the fusion of history and avant-garde, which can even occur in religious art.