Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Théophile Bohl and the Chapelle St Martin in Haguenau

The Wikipedia [fr] short note on Tristan Ruhlmann indicates that he began his career in Haguenau in the studio or workshop of Théophile Bohl on the rue de la Ferme Falk. Bohl apparently (according to a couple of genealogy databases search engines turn up) was born in Haguenau on 1 August 1868 and died in Haguenau 7 December 1942. The visit guide to the Chapelle Saint-Martin prepared by the cultural services of the city of Haguenau also indicates that Bohl had his workshop on the rue de la Ferme Falk.

His windows for the Chapelle Saint Martin were made in 1924. Unlike more mosaicist artists of stained glass, Bohl painted the glass with oxides, which he then recooked (baked); a technique similar to glazing pottery (briefly described in Topic Topos note on his window depicting St Arbogast in the chapel of the Missions Africaines school in Haguenau, another very nice piece).

The Chapelle Saint Martin is the center of the hospital founded in Haguenau in 1329, rebuilt in 1614 after destruction in 1570, spared by the fire of 1677 yet replaced around 1759 by its present cupola-topped form. The round column is open at each of the upper floors (like the hall of a mall) so that patients too weak to move could hear the services.

Ruhlmann's Saint Martin

The hospital setting explains the choice of subjects for the windows. Saint Martin is central for his example of charity. The image of him offering his cloak is the work of Tristan Ruhlmann (1966) in a conventional style (as opposed to his modern glass and concrete slab technique) more in harmony with Bohl's images.

Bohl's Saints Anne and George

Saint George Saint Anne, in green for hope, in the company of the young Virgin.

Other Symbols


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Sunday, September 16, 2012


Other Tristan Ruhlmann Windows

Saint Gall, the Catholic church of the village of Rittershoffen, a town not far from Haguenau, commissioned Tristan Ruhlmann to do a major stained glass window in his special, glass-and-concrete technique. I visited it in 2005; another place to see more (and better) photos is this note titled "Les vitraux de l'église St Gall". To get the scale of the work, consider it first from the outside: it is that whole section in the front wall of the church!
Entering, one passes through a sort of porch walled in his stained glass windows. The effectiveness of his technique for including text is quite evident.The article linked above has details of several of the panes, which list the Ten Commandments.
Inside the church one is confronted by the vast, complex composition. Sadly, I did not take photos of the details, nor notes explaining the composition. Happily, the linked article has some.

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Some Tristan Ruhlmann Windows

Tristan Ruhlmann was an artist who worked most of his career either in Haguenau or in nearby Schweighouse-sur-Moder. According to Wikipedia, he first worked in a workshop on the street I live on. His medium was stained glass (as was his father's), but not just classic lead-framed windows: he was a pioneer of the glass in concrete slab technique. In particular, he apparently worked out the way to place glass so the light traverses it edge to edge (rather than face to face). Not surprisingly, much of his work appears in churches and chapels, including a chapel in Haguenau belonging to a private Catholic school (Ste. Philomène) which is not generally accessible to the public. These windows were added as part of its renovation beginning around 1958; I did not hear when it was completed (if the guide said). It was open for visits one September week-end (Journées du Patrimoine) several years ago, then not again--I check the program every year, hoping-- until this week.

Let's begin the visit outside. Here one sees that the windows don't have the usual shine one expects of stained glass. And the close-up of the lower part of one panel shows the cement (or concrete, or grout?) composing much of each window, and also serving as a  mask for writing.

Inside View

Now, how nice will that look from the other side, the inside?

The Chapel Interior

Other Panels

The other panels along the sides are yet to be added (or in a separate note).

The "Rose" and Flanking Mezzanine Panels

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Friday, September 07, 2012


My First Go at "Bing It On"

I've engaged in search engine comparisons in the past, both using sites providing the support framework for the tests and running redundant queries on my own; in fact, when James Fallows wrote a Bing vs. Google note a couple of years ago, I wrote him to recommend Yahoo!, which I'd found very good at filtering out irrelevant results. That was before Yahoo! dropped support for their superior engine (for me, in English) to use Bing for their searches.

Yesterday, ReadWriteWeb described "Bing It On" as "A 'Pepsi Challenge' for Bing and Google," an official effort on Microsoft's part to test the same queries side-by-side with the two search engines. It is a test, presenting only the top (first page) results returned, and one 'plays' five times with the search terms of one's choice. I presume Bing has some way to mine the results to try to figure out why they lose when they do, but I frankly don't know how I would structure that analysis. (But now I'm thinking about it).

For Dave Copeland, the ReadWriteWeb writer, Google won 3-1-1. He includes information about some research findings which may explain the results. The research "found that Google outperforms Bing on simple one-word queries. Bing generally delivered more precise results for simple, multi-word queries and complex multi-word queries." His queries were simple multi-word, not simple one-word, so it does not seem to me that the explanation works.

Nor does this seem to explain the 4-1-0 Google scored with my query set!  None of my queries were one-word, even excluding articles, prepositions and conjunctions. Two were in French, one of which included a spelling ambiguity. My list was not "designed" or planned, it just happened that way, but probably is representative of the queries I submit.

My list:
The draw was on 'limage populaire', a curious name I spotted on a tombstone recently in a small village churchyard in Belgium. It also contains the spelling ambiguity, as "l'image populaire" is much more common, although "limage populaire" is a possible--not very comprehensible--construction.

The "Bing It On" site also provides a link to learn about the study in which they found "people chose Bing web search results over Google nearly 2:1 in blind comparison tests." The link is on the tally page you'll see after you try five queries, too.

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