Man Spots Great Granny In Church’s Stained-Glass Window

Art experts restoring a cathedral’s stained glass windows in Austria were astonished when a local identified five of his ancestors in the artwork.

Art historians have been conducting a painstaking preservation of the historic windows at Linz Cathedral in Austria.

The stained glass images, created in the early 20th century, show local VIPs and officials instead of religious scenes.

Now Johann Muellehner, from Voecklabruck, in the province of Upper Austria, has come forward to identify five of his ancestors in the images.

He told experts he recognised his great-grandparents and three of their children depicted in the windows.

THe Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW), which is carrying out the renovation work, said in a statement on 3rd July obtained by Newsflash: “It is extremely rare for today’s descendants to recognise their own relatives on a church window.

“However, a man from Voecklabruck was able to identify his ancestors with the help of OeAW art historians during the restoration of Linz’s St. Mary’s Cathedral.”

The experts explained that Muellehner’s ancestors were leading citizens in Linz when the windows were created and had paid a fortune to be included in the designs.

Image shows the stained glass window in Linz’s Mariendom, undated photo. The girl in the red and black checked dress is Rosa Muellehner (nee Steineder) and also the grandmother of Johann Muellehner. (Federal Monuments Office, Bettina Neubauer-Pregl/Newsflash)

The statement added: “The magnificent windows of St Mary’s Cathedral in Linz do not only depict religious scenes.

“The largest connected group of windows in the nave and transept were created between 1910 and 1924 and show prominent personalities from the region and people who were involved in the construction of the cathedral.”

Art experts were able to compare the window images with black and white photos sent to the windows’ creators 100 years ago.

The statement added: “The basis for these portraits were black and white photographs that were verifiably sent from Linz to the Tyrolean stained glass workshop in Innsbruck to be transferred onto the glass.”

Christina Wais-Wolf, an art history expert working on the cathedral, added: “It is known in principle that the people depicted on the picture windows are portraits of specific people.

“But it is absolutely extraordinary that today’s descendants of these people can recognise their relatives and identify them precisely.”

Restorers now say the windows show Mullehner’s great-grandmother Rosina Steineder with her carpenter husband Leopold Steineder.

Their children Hans Steineder, Rosa Steineder, Muellehner’s grandmother, and Leopoldine Steineder are also depicted.

Image shows a document from the family archives, undated photo. It states that Mr Leopold Steineder, master carpenter, donated a total of 8,000 crowns to finance the picture window on January 22, 1916. (Johann Muellehner/Newsflash)

Leopold Steineder had donated 8,000 Crowns on 22nd January 1916 to pay to be included in the images, a small fortune in today’s money, the experts said.

Wais-Wolf said: “This brings the stories told on the windows to life. The original idea that the people and many places of Upper Austria are shown on the windows has not lost any of its relevance.”


To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Joseph GolderSub-EditorJoseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash

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