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Citizen's pride
The stained glass windows in the Esslingen "Frauenkirche" (Church of Our Lady)

The Frauenkirche was built during a period of growing self-confidence and independence for the citizens of Esslingen.

The citizens wanted to control the finances and running of their church themselves. The City/Parish church, St.Dionysus, was under the control of the Speyer Cathedral Chapter. They decided in 1321 to take over a small chapel and rebuild it into the church "zu unserer lieben Frauen". This was conceived from the start as a three-aisled hall church, and was completed by the year 1508. The Master Mason's dynasties Ensinger and Beblinger were involved in the construction.

Particularly impressive features include the sculptures, with the depiction of the Last Judgement and the life of Mary over the two monumental Portals in the south wall of the church, and the decorated windows in the choir.

Mary at the loom from the Mary window, Esslingen ca.1330
The life and history of Mary, the churches' Patron is depicted in unusual length and detail, from her ancestors to the Christening of Jesus. The glass stainer depicts the Holy Family as his contemporaries, with details of their daily life. One can make out clearly what a medieval braiding loom looked like, and how women operated it.
Mary at the loom The Scourging of Christ
The Scourging of Christ from the middle window, Esslingen ca. 1330
The panes are very similar in theme and style to those from the Franciscan church, though they are somewhat smaller, and the portrayals are not quite as intense as the original.
The choir still retains three complete stained glass windows, containing thirty panes each. Unlike the windows in St.Dionysus and the Franciscan church, even the old coloured glazing on the tracery in the windows is still intact. This dates back to the first third of the 14th century, shortly after the beginning of construction work on the church.

The design of the windows is typical of the period. In the choir apse there is a Christ window, the adjacent north window is dedicated to Mary, and in the adjacent window to the south were probably the Apostles; now there is only a conglomeration of glass panes of various origin.
The central window in the apse is very close to that from the Franciscan church, so that the workshop was probably told to copy the latter, but of course try to improve on it. The three windows in the apse were made in different workshops, but were probably all made on the spot in Esslingen.

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