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1.glass that has been colored in some way; used for church windows
drinking glass, glass[Desc]
stained glass (n.)
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings. Although traditionally made in flat panels and used as windows, the creations of modern stained glass artists also include three-dimensional structures and sculpture.
Modern vernacular usage has often extended the term "stained glass" to include domestic leadlight and objets d'art created from lead came and copper foil glasswork exemplified in the famous lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany.
As a material stained glass is glass that has been coloured by adding metallic salts during its manufacture. The coloured glass is crafted into stained glass windows in which small pieces of glass are arranged to form patterns or pictures, held together (traditionally) by strips of lead and supported by a rigid frame. Painted details and yellow stain are often used to enhance the design. The term stained glass is also applied to windows in which the colours have been painted onto the glass and then fused to the glass in a kiln.
Stained glass, as an art and a craft, requires the artistic skill to conceive an appropriate and workable design, and the engineering skills to assemble the piece. A window must fit snugly into the space for which it is made, must resist wind and rain, and also, especially in the larger windows, must support its own weight. Many large windows have withstood the test of time and remained substantially intact since the late Middle Ages. In Western Europe they constitute the major form of pictorial art to have survived. In this context, the purpose of a stained glass window is not to allow those within a building to see the world outside or even primarily to admit light but rather to control it. For this reason stained glass windows have been described as 'illuminated wall decorations'.
The design of a window may be non-figurative or figurative; may incorporate narratives drawn from the Bible, history, or literature; may represent saints or patrons, or use symbolic motifs, in particular armorial. Windows within a building may be thematic, for example: within a church - episodes from the life of Christ; within a parliament building - shields of the constituencies; within a college hall - figures representing the arts and sciences; or within a home - flora, fauna, or landscape.
Glass factories were set up where there was a ready supply of silica, the essential material for glass manufacture. Silica requires very high heat to become molten, something furnaces of the time were unable to achieve. So materials (potash, soda, lead) needed to be added to modify the silica network to allow the silica to melt at a lower temperature, and then other substances (lime) added to rebuild the weakened network and make the glass more stable. Glass is colored by adding metallic oxide powders or finely divided metals while it is in a molten state. Copper oxides produce green or bluish green, cobalt makes deep blue, and gold produces wine red and violet glass. Much modern red glass is produced using copper, which is less expensive than gold and gives a brighter, more vermilion shade of red. Glass colored while in the clay pot in the furnace is known as pot metal glass, as opposed to flashed glass.
Cylinder glass or Muff Using a blow-pipe, a "gather" (glob) of molten glass is taken from the pot heating in the furnace. The gather is formed to the correct shape and a bubble of air blown into it. Using metal tools, molds of wood that have been soaking in water, and gravity, the gather is manipulated to form a long, cylindrical shape. As it cools, it is reheated so the manipulation can continue. During the process, the bottom of the cylinder is removed. Once brought to the desired size it is left to cool. One side of the cylinder is opened. It is put into another oven to quickly heat and flatten it, and then placed in an annealer to cool at a controlled rate, making the material more stable. "Hand-blown" cylinder (also called muff glass) and crown glass were the types used in ancient stained-glass windows.
Crown glass This hand-blown glass is created by blowing a bubble of air into a gather of molten glass and then spinning it - by hand or on a table that revolves rapidly like a potter's wheel. The centrifugal force causes the molten bubble to open up and flatten. It can then be cut into small sheets. Glass formed this way can be both colored and used for stained-glass windows, or uncolored as seen in small paned windows in 16th and 17th century houses. Concentric, curving waves are characteristic of the process. The center of each piece of glass, known as the "bull's-eye", receives less force during spinning, so it remains thicker than the rest of the sheet. It also has the distinctive lump of glass left by the "pontil" rod, which holds the glass as it is spun out. This lumpy, refractive quality means the bulls-eyes are less transparent, but they have still been used for windows, both domestic and eccliesiastical. Crown glass is still made today, but not on a large scale.
Rolled glass Rolled glass (sometimes called "table glass") is produced by pouring molten glass onto a metal or graphite table and immediately rolling it into a sheet using a large metal cylinder, similar to rolling out a pie crust. The rolling can be done by hand or machine. Glass can be "double rolled", which means it is passed through two cylinders at once (similar to the clothes wringers on older washing machines) to yield glass of a specified thickness (typically approximately 1/8"). Glass made this way is never fully transparent, but doesn't necessarily have much texture. It can be pushed and tugged while molten for certain effects. For distinct textures the metal cylinder can be imprinted with a pattern that is pressed into the molten glass as it passes through the rollers. The glass is then annealed. Rolled glass was first commercially produced around the mid-1830s and is widely used today. It is often called cathedral glass, but this has nothing to do with medieval cathedrals, where the glass used was hand-blown.
Flashed glass Architectural glass must be at least 1/8 of an inch to survive the push and pull of typical wind load. In order to make red glass, the ingredients used must be of a certain concentration, or the color won’t develop, but the resulting color is so concentrated, that if a sheet were made that is 1/8” thick, little light could actually pass through it – it would look black. So another method is usually used for making red glass, where most of the body of the glass is clear or a colored tint. This lightly colored molten gather is dipped into a pot of molten red glass, forming a laminate that is then blown into a sheet of glass using either the cylinder (muff) or the crown technique as described above. Once the solution was found for making red glass, other colors were also made this way. A great advantage is that the double-layered glass can be engraved or abraded to reveal the clear or tinted glass below. The method allows rich detailing and patterns to be achieved without needing to add more lead-lines, giving artists greater freedom in their designs. A number of artists have embraced the possibilities flashed glass gives them. For instance, 16th century heraldic windows relied heavily on a variety of flashed colors for their intricate crests and creatures. In the medieval period the glass was “abraded” (ground off), later hydrofluoric acid was used to remove the flash in a chemical reaction (a very dangerous technique) and in the 19th century sandblasting started to be used.
Modern production of traditional glass There are a number of glass factories, notably in Germany, USA, England, France, Poland and Russia, which produce high-quality glass, both hand-blown (cylinder, muff, crown) and rolled glass (cathedral and opalescent). Modern stained-glass artists have a number of resources to use and the work of centuries of other artists from which to learn as they continue the tradition, but in new ways.
Coloured glass has been produced since ancient times. Both the Egyptians and the Romans excelled at the manufacture of small coloured glass objects. Phoenicia was important in glass manufacture with its chief centres Sidon, Tyre and Antioch. The British Museum holds two of the finest Roman pieces, the Lycurgus Cup, which is a murky mustard colour but glows purple-red to transmitted light, and the Portland vase which is midnight blue, with a carved white overlay.
In Early Christian churches of the 4th and 5th centuries, there are many remaining windows which are filled with ornate patterns of thinly-sliced alabaster set into wooden frames, giving a stained-glass like effect.
Evidence of stained glass windows in churches and monasteries in Britain can be found as early as the 7th century. The earliest known reference dates from 675 AD when Benedict Biscop imported workmen from France to glaze the windows of the monastery of St Peter which he was building at Monkwearmouth. Hundreds of pieces of coloured glass and lead, dating back to the late 7th century, have been discovered here and at Jarrow.
In the Middle East, the glass industry of Syria continued during the Islamic period with the major centres of manufacture being at Ar-Raqqah, Aleppo and Damascus, with the most important products being highly transparent colourless glass, and gilded glass, rather than coloured glass. The production of coloured glass in Southwest Asia existed by the 8th century, at which time the alchemist Jābir ibn Hayyān, in Kitab al-Durra al-Maknuna, gave 46 recipes for producing coloured glass and describes the production of cutting glass into artificial gemstones.
A perfume flask from 100 BCE-200 CE
The Portland Vase, a rare example of Roman flashed glass
An alabaster window in Orvieto Cathedral, Italy
Stained glass, as an art form, reached its height in the Middle Ages when it became a major pictorial form and was used to illustrate the narratives of the Bible to a largely illiterate populace.
In the Romanesque and Early Gothic period, from about 950 AD to 1240 AD, the untraceried windows demanded large expanses of glass which of necessity were supported by robust iron frames, such as may be seen at Chartres Cathedral and at the eastern end of Canterbury Cathedral. As Gothic architecture developed into a more ornate form, windows grew larger, affording greater illumination to the interiors, but were divided into sections by vertical shafts and tracery of stone. The elaboration of form reached its height of complexity in the Flamboyant style in Europe and windows grew still larger with the development of the Perpendicular style in England.
Integrated with the lofty verticals of Gothic cathedrals and parish churches, the glass designs became more daring. The circular form, or rose window developed in France from relatively simple windows with pierced openings through slabs of thin stone to wheel windows, as exemplified by that in the West front of Chartres Cathedral, and ultimately to designs of enormous complexity, the tracery being drafted from hundreds of different points, such as those at Sainte-Chapelle, Paris and the "Bishop's Eye" at Lincoln Cathedral.
Daniel from Augsburg Cathedral, early 12th c. One of the oldest examples in situ.
Detail of a 13th-century window from Chartres Cathedral
Christ in Majesty from Strasbourg Cathedral
The South Transept windows from Chartres Cathedral
South Transept window at Canterbury Cathedral, 13th c.
The west window of York Minster
The rose window from Sainte-Chapelle, 15th c.
In Europe, stained glass continued to be produced with the style evolving from the Gothic to the Classical style, which is widely represented in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, despite the rise of Protestantism. In France, much glass of this period was produced at the Limoges factory, and in Italy at Murano, where stained glass and faceted lead crystal are often coupled together in the same window. Ultimately, the French Revolution brought about the neglect or destruction of many windows in France. At the Reformation, in England large numbers of Medieval and Renaissance windows were smashed and replaced with plain glass. The Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII and the injunctions of Oliver Cromwell against "abused images" (the object of veneration) resulted in the loss of thousands of windows. Few remain undamaged; of them the windows in the private chapel at Hengrave Hall in Suffolk are among the finest. With the latter wave of destruction the traditional methods of working with stained glass died and were not to be rediscovered in England until the early 19th century. See Stained glass - British glass, 1811-1918 for more details.
Ghent Cathedral, Belgium, 16th century
Drawsko Pomorskie Church, a good example of heraldic glass
Les Andelys, Normandy, 16th century
The Catholic revival in England, gaining force in the early 19th century, with its renewed interest in the medieval church brought a revival of church building in the Gothic style, claimed by John Ruskin to be "the true Catholic style". The architectural movement was led by Augustus Welby Pugin. Many new churches were planted in large towns and many old churches were restored. This brought about a great demand for the revival of the art of stained glass window making.
Among the earliest 19th century English manufacturers and designers were William Warrington and John Hardman of Birmingham whose nephew, John Hardman Powell, had a commercial eye and exhibited works at the Philadelphia Exhibition of 1876, influencing stained glass in the United States of America. Other manufacturers included William Wailes, Ward and Hughes, Clayton and Bell, Heaton, Butler and Bayne and Charles Eamer Kempe. A Scottish designer, Daniel Cottier, opened firms in Australia and the US.
One of England's largest windows, the east window of Lincoln Cathedral, Ward and Nixon (1855), is a formal arrangement of small narrative scenes in roundels
William Wailes. This window has the bright pastel colour, a wealth of inventive ornament and stereotypical gestures of windows by this firm. St Mary's, Chilham
In France there was a greater continuity of stained glass production than in England. In the early 19th century most stained glass was made of large panes that were extensively painted and fired, the designs often being copied directly from oil paintings by famous artists. In 1824 the Sèvres Porcelain factory began producing stained glass to supply the increasing demand. In France many churches and cathedrals suffered despoliation during the French Revolution. During the 19th century a great number of churches were restored by Viollet-le-Duc. Many of France's finest ancient windows were restored at this time. From 1839 onwards much stained glass was produced that very closely imitates medieval glass, both in the artwork and in the nature of the glass itself. The pioneers were Henri Gèrente and Andre Lusson. Other glass was designed in a more Classical manner, and characterised by the brilliant cerulean colour of the blue backgrounds (as against the purple-blue of the glass of Chartres) and the use of pink and mauve glass.
Detail of a "Tree of Jesse" window in Reims Cathedral designed in the 13th century style by L. Steiheil and painted by Coffetier for Viollet-le-Duc, (1861)
St Louis administering Justice by Lobin in the painterly style. (19th century) Church of St Medard, Thouars.
West window from Saint-Urbain, Troyes, (about 1900)
During the mid to late 19th century, many of Germany's ancient buildings were restored, and some, such as Cologne Cathedral were completed in the medieval style. There was a great demand for stained glass. The designs for many windows were based directly on the work of famous engravers such as Albrecht Dürer. Original designs often imitate this style. Much 19th century German glass has large sections of painted detail rather than outlines and details dependent on the lead. The Royal Bavarian Glass painting Studio was founded by Ludwig I in 1827. A major firm was Mayer of Munich which commenced glass production in 1860, and is still operating as Franz Mayer of Munich, Inc.. German stained glass found a market across Europe, in America and Australia. Stained glass studios were also founded in Italy and Belgium at this time.
In the Austrian Empire and later Austria-Hungary, one of the leading stained glass artists was Carl Geyling, who founded his studio in 1841. His son would continue the tradition as Carl Geyling's Erben, which still exists today. Carl Geyling's Erben completed numerous stained glass windows for the major churches in Vienna and other places, and received an Imperial and Royal Warrant of Appointment from emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria.
Post-Reformation window in the Memorial Church, Speyer, Germany
An early 20th century window in the 17th century style, St Maurice's Church, Olomouc, Czech Republic
J&R Lamb Studios, established in 1857 in New York City, was the first major decorative arts studio in the United States and for many years was its major producer of the ecclesiastical stained glass.
Notable American practitioners include John La Farge (1835–1910) who invented opalescent glass and for which he received a US patent February 24, 1880, and Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933), who received several patents for variations of the same opalescent process in November of the same year and is believed to have invented the copper foil method as an alternative to lead, and used it extensively in windows, lamps and other decorations.
The Holy City by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1905). This 58-panel window has brilliant red, orange, and yellow etched glass for the sunrise, with textured glass used to create the effect of moving water.
Window by Louis Comfort Tiffany with opalescent glass, asymmetric design and casual combination of flashed, painted and pot metal glass within the formal framework of supporting bars
Among the most innovative English designers were the Pre-Raphaelites, William Morris (1834–1898) and Edward Burne-Jones (1833–1898), whose work heralds Art Nouveau. Art Nouveau or Belle Epoch stained glass design flourished in France, and Eastern Europe, where it can be identified by the use of curvings sinous lines in the lead, and swirling motifs. In France it is seen in the work of Francis Chigot of Limoges. In Britain it appears in the refined and formal leadlight designs of Charles Rennie Macintosh.
Art Nouveau by Jacques Grüber, the glass harmonising with the curving architectural forms that surround it, Musée de l'École de Nancy (1904).
Many 19th-century firms failed early in the 20th century as the Gothic movement had been superseded by newer styles. At the same time there were also some interesting developments where stained glass artists took studios in shared facilities. Examples include the Glass House in London set up by Mary Lowndes and A.J. Drury and An Túr Gloine in Dublin, which was run by Sarah Purser and included artists such as Harry Clarke.
A revival occurred in the middle of the century because of the desire to restore the thousands of church windows throughout Europe, destroyed as a result of bombing during the World War II. German artists led the way. Much work of the period is mundane and often was not made by its designers but industrially produced.
Other artists sought to transform an ancient art form into a contemporary one, sometimes using only traditional techniques but often exploring the medium of glass in different ways and in combination with different materials. The use of slab glass set in concrete was another 20th-century innovation. Gemmail, a technique developed by the French artist Jean Crotti in 1936 and perfected in the 1950s, is a type of stained glass where adjacent pieces of glass are overlapped, without using lead came to join the pieces, allowing for a greater diversity and subtlety of colour. Many famous works by late 19th- and early 20th-century painters, notably Picasso, have been reproduced in gemmail. A major exponent of this technique is the German artist Walter Womacka.
Among the early well-known 20th-century artists who experimented with stained glass as an Abstract art form were Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian. In the 1960s and 70s the Expressionist painter Marc Chagall produced designs for many stained glass windows that are intensely coloured and crammed with symbolic details. Important 20th-century stained glass artists include Douglas Strachan, Ervin Bossanyi, Louis Davis, Wilhelmina Geddes, Karl Parsons, Patrick Reyntiens, Ludwig Schaffrath, Johannes Shreiter, Judith Schaechter, Paul Woodroffe, Jean René Bazaine at Saint Séverin and the Loire Studio of Gabriel Loire at Chartres. The Luxus Keibel studio in Mexico specialises in domestic stained glass in both contemporary and 19th century styles. The west windows of England's Manchester Cathedral, by Tony Hollaway, are some of the most notable examples of symbolic work.
In the US, there is a 100-year-old trade organization, The Stained Glass Association of America, whose purpose is to function as a publicly recognized organization to assure survival of the craft by offering guidelines, instruction and training to craftspersons. The SGAA also sees its role as defending and protecting its craft against regulations that might restrict its freedom as an architectural art form. The current president is B. Gunar Gruenke of the Conrad Schmitt Studios. Today there are academic establishments that teach the traditional skills. One of these is Florida State University's Master Craftsman Program who recently completed a 30 ft high stained-glass windows installed in Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Abstract expressionism at Meiningen Catholic Church.
One of four 64 metres (210 ft)-high stained glass panels, Rio de Janeiro Cathedral, Brazil
Postmodernist symbolism, Tree of Life at Christinae church, Alingsås, Sweden.
The Bald Eagle, a good example of the product of commercial studios working with traditional techniques, Dryden High School, USA
Mid 20th-c. window showing a continuation of ancient and 19th-c. methods applied to a modern historical subject. Florence Nightingale window at St Peters, Derby, removed from the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary
Figurative design using the lead lines and minimal glass paint in the 13th century manner combined with the texture of Cathedral glass, Ins, Switzerland
Stained glass windows were commonly used in churches for decorative and informative purposes. Many windows are donated to churches by members of the congregation as memorials of loved ones. For more information on the use of stained glass to depict religious subjects, see Poor Man's Bible
Synagogues In addition to Christian churches, stained glass windows have been incorporated into Jewish temple architecture for centuries. Jewish Communities in the United States saw this emergence in mid-19th century, with such notable examples as the sanctuary depiction of the Ten Commandments in New York's Congregation Anshi Chesed. From the mid-20th century to the present, stained glass windows have been a ubiquitous feature of American synagogue architecture. Styles and themes for synagogue stained glass artwork is as diverse as their church counterparts. As with churches, synagogue stained glass windows are often dedicated by member families in exchange for major financial contributions to the institution.
Places of Worship
The dazzling display of medieval glass at Sainte-Chapelle, Paris
The chancel windows of the Church of Our Lady, Koblenz, Germany
Coventry Cathedral England, has a series of windows by different designers.
Late 20th century stained glass from Temple Ohev Sholom, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania by Ascalon Studios.
Stained glass windows in houses were particularly popular in Victorian era and many domestic examples survive. In their simplest form they typically depict birds and flowers in small panels, often surrounded with machine-made cathedral glass, which, despite what the name suggests, is pale-coloured and textured. Some large homes have splendid examples of secular pictorial glass. Many small houses of the 19th and early 20th centuries have leadlight windows.
Public and commercial use of stained glass Stained glass has often been used as a decorative element in public buildings, initially in places of learning, government or justice but increasingly in other public and commercial places such as banks, retailers and railway stations. Public houses in some countries make extensive use of stained glass and leaded lights to create a comfortable atmosphere and retain privacy.
Stained glass in the Town Hall, Liberec, Czech Republic
Windows of the Hungarian Room, University of Pittsburgh
Glass Woman (1968) by Jim Gary, detail of life-sized "in-the-round" (free-standing) full figure work - private collection
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