The Miracle of Light Through Glass 12/25/2014
Good morning to my readers from Dame Aoife Finn. Happy Christmas, Kwanza, Eid, Solstice, Hanukkah, holiday of your choosing, or simply happy Thursday to you. This particular column, below, has taken more than my usual allotment of time to research. Why? Because it is proving difficult to research non-Christian themed historic stained glass. The beautiful miracle of light through colored glass should not be limited to one solitary culture, I reasoned, because of the very many techniques that meant at-large experimentation and discovery. It only made sense that such beauty was a multicultural phenomenon. I believe I am am correct. Proving it is another matter.
I hope you enjoy the following links related to stained glass, and find your own particular brand of peace and goodwill towards all humankind in the beautiful images portrayed. I further hope that Love and Joy come to you, but please be sensible. Don’t wassail and drive!
Modernly known as Lis Gelatt
Hailing from the damp Barony of the Endless Hills in the picturesque Kingdom of Æthelmearc.
Prague-Maisel Museum. Jewish Museum In Prague-Maisel Synagogue. Retrieved 12/22/2014 from:
This link to the Prague-Maisel Synagogue shows two photos of the extant stunning and rare Judaic stained glass windows. One could wish for more window detail, but the windows’ existence alone is somewhat miraculous. Commissioned by the then-mayor of Prague (Mordechai Maisel), the construction took approximately two years, from 1590-1592 following European building customs of the time, hence the resemblance to churches of the period. The synagogue is now a museum. It should be noted that there is a nearby and very interesting jewish cemetery that holds the remains of Avigdor Karo, as the earliest burial of about 1439. Karo was once the chief rabbi and poet to King Wenceslas IV of Czechoslovakia, possibly he of Christmas carol fame. In most European countries existing synagogues were often destroyed or repurposed over the centuries, for example when Jews were expelled from France in the 14th century, such decimation including the (then) beautiful architecture and windows.
J. Paul Getty Trust. Images in Light: Newly Acquired Stained Glass. Retrieved 12/25/2014 from:
Click the above link to the J Paul Getty Museum’s stained glass web page and you will be taken to an interactive page. The text is informative but limited. Click on an image for a better view of the work itself, or for selected images choose the speaker icon to listen to a discussion of each piece by a museum expert. Several of these images were chosen for the web page because of the emotion portrayed on the faces of the subjects.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. Bowl, late 10th-early 11th century, Probably Egyptian, in the Heilbrun Timeline of Art History. Retrieved 12/23/2014 from:
10th or 11th century blown, shaped, and stained glass bowl, probably Egyptian, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. While not a window per se, this shows the highly sophisticated art of painting on glass, and how it was a world-wide art form. The Egyptian design itself is more common on locally produced ceramics than on glass, making this bowl a rare beauty.
Fogg, Sam. Medieval art glass. Retrieved 12/24/2014 from: http://www.samfogg.com/gallery.php?g=3
The simple gallery is composed of window images, several to a page. Click on any image to relocate to a better view and brief description. Though provenance is shown, there is little to distract from the beauty of the windows themselves.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters. Stained Glass in Medieval Europe, in the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. Retrieved 12/22/2014 from: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/glas/hd_glas.htm
A short scholarly discussion on medieval stained glass appears on this page. However, with thirteen images for further study, links to four essays of note, and thirteen resources cited, this page will be of particular use to glass artists wishing to expand their knowledge of historic practices.
Lewis, Susan K. of PBS Nova. Medieval Stained Glass Science. Retrieved 12/20/2014 from:
This interactive app requires that a slideshow program to be installed on your computer. Some computers may thus be unable to view it without additional software. Regardless, viewers can see in careful illustrations and photos how the science of stained glass works, from chemistry to extant examples. This slideshow presentation was developed from the high quality PBS television show, Nova.
Stained Glass Museum. A Brief History of Stained Glass, Illustrated by examples from the collections of The Stained Glass Museum, Ely. Retrieved on 12/16/2014 from:
A short history encompassing stained glass from its early days to modern times, illustrated by example. See here how stained glass has progressed from primitive to complex to figurative and back again through the ages. Included in the summation is this piece, a rendition of Reynard, the Fox.
Elderhostel. Michelli’s History of Stained Glass, Introduction and Techniques. Retrieved 12/17/2014 from:
Folks who choose to travel with the program Elderhostel may be familiar with the educational aspect of these journeys. This link is really a web bibliography of further reading on the many technical spects of stained glass from art to science to development and history. There are twenty three links to types of stained glass. Please note that the bottom navigation section provides event more options including Baroque, Medieval, and Renaissance options. There is a further page of uncategorized links.
Kings College London, Corpus Vitrearium Medii Aevii: Medieval Stained Glass In Britain. Retrieved 12/18/2014 from: http://www.cvma.ac.uk/index.html
Search a vast image library by name, place, or record number. As you might expect with a collection this vast, brief descriptions are offered, if any. It will be necessary to contact the original building/church management we page (not provided) to get a better idea of the scope, subject, and history of the work itself. However, so many quality photographs appear that it is easy to guess that most of the stained glass windows in Britain are catalogued her, including this figure of a kneeling knight from St. Peter’s in Aldwinkle, Northhamptonshire.
Frenzel, Gottfreid. The Restoration of Medieval Stained Glass. Retrieved 12/22/2014 from:
A photocopy of the physical work by Frenzel, this written scholarly work details the damage that weather, pollution, and age have done to stained glass. In some cases, attempts at restoration have further damaged windows so that they are beyond salvage. Early 12th century works, as well as those by Michael Wohlgemuth, the teacher of Albrecht Duhrer in the 15th century, and others, are shown in black and white illustration.
Bevan, Robert. Software Could Reconstruct Medieval Mosaics, article in The Art Newspaper, July 2012. Retrieved 12/22/2014 from:
The World Monuments Fund has dedicated a portion of money towards reconstructing glass mosaics disassembled and stored next to the boiler in Canterbury Cathedral in England. By sheer luck, the church planned a changed of design and had the pieces stored, but not properly catalogued, prior to the cathedral’s decimation by bombing during WWII. Because of the decimation, and an inability to re-assemble the complex mosaic, the glass pieces have remained there ever since. Now, a computer program designed to reassemble shredded or torn documents from the Cold War has been deployed to help re-assemble the mosaic, which consists in part of portraits of religious figures, merchants, benefactors, townsfolk, etc.
Canterbury Cathedral conservators are incorporating digital and laser-scanning war-time technology in an effort to reassemble portrait fragments such as these. This is the first known instance that the technology has been applied to fragments of stained glass. The program will suggest image edge matches to help reassemble the chaotically preserved collection. The completed portraits and mosaic fragments will then be used inside modern era pieces to aid cathedral reconstruction.