Rose Window, Mission San José


Theodore Gentilz ( American, 1819 - 1906 )

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General Description

Théodore Gentilz created some of the earliest known scenes of Texas, such as this detailed architectural study of Mission San José, San Antonio's most celebrated mission. He first came to the state in 1844 as a surveyor for the colony organized by Henri Castro, which became present-day Castroville.

Excerpt from

William Keyse Rudolph, DMA Label copy (1959.18), July 2005.

Fun Facts

  • While enrolled at the Royal Free School of Art and Mathematics (now the National Higher School of Decorative Arts) in Paris, Gentilz studied under Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, an architect who became famous for his restorations (and alterations) of Medieval churches and castles.

  • The Rose Window at Mission San Jose is nearly seven feet tall, but is only four and a half feet above the floor. It dates to the 1770s—a period when this sort of intricate carving and ironwork was extremely rare outside of Europe.

  • The window's moniker is deceptively similar to the circular, stained glass windows featured in Gothic churches. Unlike the colorful patterns created by typical rose windows, Mission San Jose's Rose Window contains clear glass, and the origin of its name is unknown.

Web Resources

  • Mission San José San Antonio Rose Window
    Look at a photo of this window on Wikimedia.

  • Texas Primer: The Rose Window
    Learn about the history (and mysteries) of the Mission San José's Rose Window in this Texas Monthly article by Mimi Swartz.

  • La ventana de Rosa
    Learn more about the source for this work through the Mission San José Church's website.

  • Mission of San José
    Find more information on the protection and restoration of Mission San José as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Jean Louis Théodore Gentilz
    Read a biography of Gentilz by Dorothy Steinbomer Kendall available on the Handbook of Texas Online (published by the Texas State Historical Association).

  • San Antonio, Painted by Gentilz
    Learn more about Gentilz's career in Texas through this San Antonio Express-News review of an exhibition held at the San Antonio Museum of Art (2012).