San Rufino

Two Types of Rose Window by Sasha Ward

Early morning drawing of the Basilica in Assisi                   Cathedral of San Rufino, Assisi

The rose windows in the buildings of Assisi are particularly beautiful. Painton Cowen, writing in 'Rose Windows' calls them "Wheels within wheels...The wheel finds its greatest expression at Assisi". The one that I drew on the facade of the Upper Basilica of San Francesco (above left, dated c.1250) "faces the rising sun - exactly the opposite of most other wheel or rose windows." Another beautiful, west facing and earlier example is on the facade of the Cathedral of San Rufino, with carved figures holding it up.

It's the geometry in these windows that is much more interesting than the little bits of stained glass they contain. And so fabulous to see them made into a curtain pattern, complete with troupe l'oeil beam and hangings, in a fifteenth century fresco in the church of San Francesco in nearby Montefalco - the design comes with a yellow background on one wall and blue on the other.

C15th frescoes, Chapel of the Annunciation, San Francesco, Montefalco, Umbria

My design and photo of sandblasted wall with mosaic band, Leeds General Infirmary 1997

The type of rose window that I've used a lot in my own design work is made from intersecting circles. An example shown above is from Leeds General Infirmary: I did this commission in 1997 and I think it must still be there as it was sandblasted into the wall of the entrance rotunda. I loved this technique which I never had the chance to use again, I also love the intersecting circle patterns but will definitely be making them more complicated and wheel like in future designs.

The simple circle pattern cropped up in a local doorway and in the balcony outside Santa Chiara, Assisi (both below) where there is another intricate "wheel within wheel" window and a wonderful view of the setting sun.

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