Inside the Rainbow: Medieval Stained Glass

Dame Aoife shares sources for stained glass from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Greetings!

Of all the things that have been left behind for us to admire from the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Stained Glass Windows happen to be the most colorful and enlightening. From design elements, to techniques, to scenes of everyday life, by looking at these windows, you are seeing actual artifacts beautifully and painstakingly created by the medieval hand. So join me on a tour of staned glass windows form varying parts of Europe, and learn a little about how medieval and renaissance people viewed life through rose colored windows.....

As always, please pass this list along to those who would enjoy reading it.

Cheers

Aoife

Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon
Canton of Riveoruge
Barony of the Endless Hills
Kingdom of Aethelmearc

Medieval stained glass windows from Esslingen am Neckar (Germany)
http://home.bawue.de/~wmwerner/essling/english/glas01.html
(Site Excerpt) Over 400 stained glass panes dating to the 13th and 14th centuries have been preserved in three churches in Esslingen. Practically all the themes found in the sculptural repertoire of the great French Cathedrals of this time are represented, including the Virtues and Vices. Even the everyday life of the citizens of Esslingen is reflected, in scenes from the Life of Mary.

How were stained glass windows made?
http://home.bawue.de/~wmwerner/essling/english/glas02.html
(Site Excerpt) The only colours available in the Middle Ages were saffron-yellow, purplish-red, green, blue and copper-red. Miniatures often provided the models for the stained glass windows. One cut the small coloured glass panes to size and then painted them with black solder/flux? (Schwarzlot), a mixture of iron and copper powder. After 1300 silver solder/flux? (Silberlot) was also available, which allowed for a new range of colours, for example light yellow and reddish-yellow. The colours were melted onto the glass.

Medieval Stained Glass
http://www.ariadne.org/studio/michelli/sgmedieval.html
A List of links of images with brief descriptions

Stained Glass Techniques
http://www.ariadne.org/studio/michelli/sgtechniques.html
(Site Excerpt) The big challenge with stained glass is to find a way to get the brightest range of colours with the fewest pieces. You can just mosaic the pieces together, but that will produce an awful lot of black leading. Below, I have presented the techniques in chronological order of development, so that you can see the range of possibilities widening.

Renaissance and Baroque Stained Glass
http://www.ariadne.org/studio/michelli/sgrenbar.html
A list of links with images

Infoplease: Medieval Stained Glass (Warning: Lots of Pop-ups)
http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/ent/A0861293.html
(Site Excerpt) With the development of medieval architecture, stained glass assumed a unique structural and symbolic importance. As the Romanesque massiveness of the wall was eliminated, the use of glass was expanded. It was integrated with the lofty vertical elements of Gothic architecture, thus providing greater illumination. Symbolically, it was regarded as a manifestation of divine light. In these transparent mosaics, biblical history and church dogmas were portrayed with great effectiveness. Resplendent in its material and spiritual richness, stained glass became one of the most beautiful forms of medieval artistic expression.

In the womb of the rose: Medieval Stained Glass
http://wombrose.sunderland.ac.uk/glass.html
(Site Excerpt) The Rose windows of Northern Europe, like the North rose from Chartres Cathedral above, are mandalas on a grand scale using the craft of glass with its orchestration of Light to an effect unparalleled in any other tradition. Light as a metaphor for transcendent reality was perceived as both as a transmitted material reality (lux) and standing for the illumination of the love of God (lumens) This concept was given form in the windows of European cathedrals during the middle ages.

Digitization of the Survey of Medieval Stained Glass (Acrobat reader required)
http://heds.herts.ac.uk/conf/ta.pdf
Though this paper is copy-protected, it is an excellent resource: a study that aims to catalog the medieval stained glass---all of it--up to the year 1540.

Medieval World Links
Stained Glass

http://www.geocities.com/MedievalWorld/LinksStainedGlass.html
A comprehensive list of sites

Newyorkcarver.com's virtual cathedral project: Chapter 2. Stained Glass: Painting With Light
http://www.newyorkcarver.com/stainedglass.htm
(Site Excerpt) So with the aid of the pointed arch and the flying buttress, cathedral walls were strengthened to such a degree that spaces could be cut away for larger window casements - and thereby meet the terms of Gothic's prime directive: MORE light. The high reaches of Gothic construction came when the architect, stonecutter, ironworker and glazier pooled their skills to create the luminous rose windows of the era.... From the outside, the bland stone tracery gave no clue to the shimmering light inside as shown, at left, in the original drawing for the West Rose Window at Chartres. At right, the interior, transformed.

Medieval Stained Glass
http://www.thornewoodcastle.com/glass.htm
An excellent series of up-close images form various windows

Stained Glass | A Brief History
http://www.thestorefinder.com/glass/library/history.html
(Site Excerpt) The origins of the first stained glass windows are lost in history. The technique probably came from jewelry making, cloisonn´┐Żand mosaics. Stained glass windows as we know them, seemed to arise when substantial church building began. By the 10th century, depictions of Christ and biblical scenes were found in French and German churches and decorative designs found in England.

Stained Glass in Medieval Europe
http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/glas/hd_glas.htm
(A comprehensive list of thumbnails. Site Excerpt:) Most of what is known about medieval stained-glass making comes from a twelfth-century German monk who called himself Theophilus. An artist and metalworker himself, Theophilus described in his text, On Diverse Arts, how he carefully studied glaziers and glass painters at work in order to provide detailed directions for creating windows of "inestimable beauty."

Monastery Stained Glass
Northamptonshire (A Dealer)

http://www.monasterystainedglass.btinternet.co.uk/
Click on the Sections of Avilable Panels link.

About stained glass
http://www.hibbert-assembly.org.uk/stainedglass/aboutstain.htm
(Site Excerpt) The means of colouring glass was understood in the early years of the Common Era. The earliest stained glass in Europe has been found at Jarrow at the monastery where Bede lived, prayed, taught and wrote. It dates from the seventh century and some of the fragments have been pieced together to form a roundel which has been placed in a window of the Saxon church which forms the chancel of the present church of St Peter and St Paul at the monastic site.