%C2%A9 Artists Rights Society %28ARS%29%2C New York %2F Pro Litteris%2C Zurich

Cologne Cathedral, 1956


Oil on canvasexpand_more

Gift of Bruce B. Daytonexpand_more  72.77

Not on Viewexpand_more

In his paintings, Oskar Kokoschka wished to make visible the invisible; he wanted to capture and describe the essence of his subject matter. In Cologne Cathedral, Kokoschka effectively portrays the grandeur of this giant Gothic cathedral while also showing the morning light streaming through the stained glass windows and dancing along the nave. He painted this interior scene from September 28 to October 17, 1956, every morning from 9 a.m. to noon, with the exception of Sundays when Mass was held. Each morning, workers connected to the Cathedral's workshop suspended a wooden balcony from the triforium, a gallery half way up the walls, from where Kokoschka painted this scene.

Cologne Cathedral was severely bombed during World War II and most of the building repairs were completed by 1956, the year Kokoschka painted this. The stained glass window in the south transept was destroyed in the bombings and was temporarily filled with plain glass until recently. In August 2007, German artist Gerhard Richter created a new stained glass window for the cathedral made of 11,500 square panes meant to resemble the digital picture element of pixels.

Cologne Cathedral
Artist Life
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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