St. Barnabas Church
St. Barnabas Church in Irvington, NY, was designed by James Renwick in 1863. It is a handsome stone structure in early English Gothic style, with a large square crenellated tower at the center. One of the most versatile architects of the mid-nineteenth century, Renwick studied engineering at Columbia University. In 1846 he designed the original Smithsonian Institution building (“the Castle”) in an early Romanesque style. Already known as a designer of churches, Renwick was asked in 1853 by Archbishop Hughes to design St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, a long and much-delayed project. St. Patrick’s was constructed between 1858-1879, and was not totally complete until 1888.
There is a lovely window by John La Farge in the interior of St. Barnabas Church, an image of the Madonna and Child. The date is unknown, but it is probably from the 1880s. The composition of the central image is based on Perugino’s painting of the Madonna Adoring the Christ Child with an Angel and St. John (1497, Pitti Palace, Florence). La Farge has significantly enriched the color in his translation into glass. He employed a full range of opalescent glass and layered plating to create a myriad of subtle color tones. The central image is bounded by decorative panels to fill out the window.