Pixel Cathedral: Gerhard Richter’s Window in the Köln Cathedral

Wonderfully nerdy and absolutely beautiful. Just unveiled to the world last Saturday: this piece in Spiegel (image via) has many amazing photos, comments from Richter and community response, this snip from Wired prior to the opening explains the nerdy significance:

Contemporary German artist Gerhard Richter designed the 65-foot-tall work to replace the original, destroyed by bombs in World War II. As a starting point, he used his own 1974 painting 4096 Colors. To create that piece – a 64-by-64 grid of squares – Richter devised a mathematical formula to systematically mix permutations of the three primary colors and gray. Funny coincidence: 4,096 is also the number of “Web-smart” colors that display consistently on older computer screens, a limitation some Web designers still take into account. (Today’s monitors, of course, can handle pretty much any hue.) The Cologne window is made of 11,500 four-inch “pixels” cut from original antique glass in a total of 72 colors. Why not 4,096? Turns out there are stained glass-smart colors, too. Some hues in Richter’s initial design were either historically inaccurate or too pale – they would have outshone the squares around them. So the artist modified his palette to include only colors with a suitably archaic cast.

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One comment on “Pixel Cathedral: Gerhard Richter’s Window in the Köln Cathedral
  1. Wonderfully nerdy and absolutely beautiful! Yea right! This wonderful cathedral was started in 1248 and since then generations of masons have tried to build and maintain it in its Gothic style.
    What has this mathematical formula shit to do in such a venerable building? Wouldn’t windows with pictures of saints or the like have fitted it better?
    Won’t probably be long until they replace the sandstone ornaments — eaten away by sour rain — by plastic or concrete ones… with a McDonald’s in the foot of the North tower.

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