8 Sermon on the Mount
Luce Memorial Window
Signed: Tiffany Studios/ New York 1902
Window 9 is to the left towards the altar.
Once again this window presents an untraditional interpretation of an important episode from the life of Jesus. He stands before a tree; it is only through the expansive landscape and a meandering river emblematic of “The River of Life” that you can recognize that the figure is placed on an elevated ground line. Similarly, his audience is only suggested through his downward glance. Also unusual are the hand gestures of Jesus. When depicted as teaching, he is routinely shown with one raised hand, often with a pointed finger. Here an outstretched left hand also comes into play. This gesture may be considered universal, signifying “bestowing or the giving of wisdom," and is prominently used with images of the Buddha. Similar to the rendering of the “Madonna of the Flowers” (1), the theme of mankind’s unity with nature is emphasized by the tree that echoes Jesus’ posture, as well as the overlapping of his hand with the tree’s branches.
The memorialized individual is Matthew Luce (1843-1902), who came from a New Bedford whaling family. As a young man he moved to Boston and became a successful wool merchant with his own firm, Luce and Manning.