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History of Stained Glass

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Stained-glass Window, The Prophet Daniel, by Süddeutscher Glasmaler Enlarge

The Prophet Daniel
(Süddeutscher Glasmaler, 12th century, Public domain)

History of Stained Glass

If glass working has more ancient origins, stained glass developed during the Middle Ages. At the time, the usage of lead cames was not, however, yet known, and pieces of marble, wood, stone or stucco were used to assemble the works.

France enjoyed a particularly fertile production of stained glass during the 12th century. Among the most ancient and best known, we find The Crucifixion in St. Peter's Cathedral in Poitiers, in the Poitou-Charente. Nevertheless, although some of these ancient works have resisted the passage of time, few of them are still to be found in their original locations.

The 13th century marked the debut of the creation of Gothic stained glass. Stained glass then became allied with architecture and painting, and reached an unparalleled quality. Artists devoted themselves principally to the decoration of religious edifices, including cathedrals, symbols of Gothic architecture.

The Renaissance marked a turning-point in the history of stained glass, since it was at that time that many technical processes appeared or developed, in particular glass engraving, diamond cutting, and the introduction of enamel, a brilliant colored cover layer.

In 1530, stained glass underwent a difficult period, notably due to economic problems and religious wars. But it returned in force several centuries later, before commencing its entrance into the modern world. Little by little, stained glass disassociated itself from the sacred arts and appeared both in homes and public places. It likewise became more accessible to artists who wished to take up to the craft.

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