The Stained Glass Windows Of Chartres

To refer to a mosaic of painted window glass, called stained glass Windows we have, in European languages there is no single form and definite content to the term. When naming these works (for example: stained glass windows, painted glass in English; Glasgemalde – in German) descriptive concepts are not accidental. Their meaning indicates that the production of stained glass as an independent type of decorative art appeared in relatively recent historical time. And only the French term “vitrail”, and from which comes our name “stained glass”, is based on the Latin word “vitrum”, pointing to the history of this art form.

The first information about the use of glass in the decoration of public buildings we find in the treatise of Pliny the Elder “Naturalis historia”. Detail in the short history of the art of making pavimento (typesetting sexes, which are based on paintings), Pliny notes that in his day, that is not earlier than the last quarter of the first century BC “driven out of the land pavimenti moved to the vaults of glass”. Later in the literature there are only a few mentions of using coloured glass in window frames. They belong to the IV-VII centuries and come from Byzantium. The first prototypes of the medieval stained glass found in churches of the monasteries of Jarrow and Monkwearmouth in North-East England, early as the 7th century. Here already used and ornamental figured glass, although not painted.
Possibly the oldest surviving fragments of stained glass with a full head painting is from losskogo monastery (now kept in the Museum of Hessen in Darmstadt). Dated this fragment in different ways, but, most likely, it was created in the second half of the 9th century.

Until the beginning of the 12th century stained glass Windows were rare, though in written sources it is reported that the Church was already decorated with the coloured glass scenes from the Bible and lives of saints, as well as monumental portraits of certain historical and legendary persons. In the Middle ages, information about the picturesque glasses found in the sources of XI century. Learned monk Theophilus in the book “Scedula diversarum artium” wrote: “You who will read this book! I have never concealed from You anything I know. I taught You what you know many Greeks in the art of matching and mixing paints, the Italians – in the coinage of silver, in the rifling of ivory, grinding stones fine, than the glory of Tuscany, the art of Damascus, which are owned by Arabs, what a strong Germany in the forging of gold, iron, copper; in combination with precious and shiny window glass, what a glorious France” .

The earliest extant stained glass Windows created in the middle of XI century, are located in Germany. They are inserted in the window openings of the nave of Augsburg Cathedral. It is known that the Augsburg stained glass Windows were made in the monastery of Tegernsee, located near Augsburg, where in XI century stained glass workshops.

To 1140-1144 years include stained glass Church of Saint-Denis near Paris, extant only in fragments. Art school located at the monastery of Saint-Denis, was developed under the leadership of the Minister of king Louis VII – Abbot Suger. To raise the prestige of the Royal power of the Suger undertook the construction of the Cathedral of Saint-Denis, which served as the burial place of French kings. For decoration of the Cathedral, he invited the greatest masters of his time, which significantly expanded the range of subjects traditionally used in compositions of stained glass. Borrowed from the Bible, these stories gave scope to the creative imagination of artists. In Saint-Denis, United elements and motifs we now consider the characteristic features of Gothic art, becoming the basis for the emergence of a new style – Gothic.

The transparency of buildings of Gothic architecture led to the almost complete disappearance of the solid wall space, and hence the main carrier of the scenic images used in Romanesque art. Compact wall space Romanesque was transformed into Gothic see-through system of columns and Windows. The first cathedrals built in the Gothic style, were Notre Dame in Paris and Canterbury Cathedral. During numerous reconstructions in Canterbury choirs chapel of the Holy Trinity, the apse and the tomb of Thomas Becket received new large Windows, filled with historical stories. In the tomb for the first time in medieval art were created narrative descriptions of contemporary events.

The highest rise of the art of stained glass reached France in the XIII century. The main center of production of painted glass moved to Chartres, where he formed an independent school of the masters. It is known that only the first half of the XIII century artists of this school were made stained glass Windows for more than 200 Gothic Windows. These data show the extent of activity and the popularity of the Chartres masters. The school of Chartres in the early thirteenth century played the same role as that of Saint-Denis in the twelfth century.

In the second half of the XIII century and then during the XIV century, with the historical descent of the Gothic, the prerequisites for further productive development of stained glass are lost. The entire future path of painting (an offshoot of which in its essence was at that time the stained glass as an art form that operates figurative colorful images on the plane) during the late Gothic and, especially, with the onset of the Early Renaissance, was aimed at increasing the objectification of the visible images, increasingly close their correlation with real empiricism. This path is meant imminent departure from those forms of implementation, which at the time of early and Mature Gothic Dali in the art of stained glass examples of the highest artistic performance. Retreating from the principles of monumental planes of color mosaic, stained glass with its visual essence and techniques have increasingly approached the scenic picture, inevitably forfeiting originally inherent strengths. A crucial attribute of the stained glass creations of times Mature Gothic was their ensemble, in its ultimate expression uniting the vast cycles of the window inclusive of fine compositions in the shell of the temple interior. Contrary to this, in the late Gothic style and even more in renderengine decades in the art of stained glass is increasing features of stankowski and, as a natural consequence, set “shtuchnostyu” stained glass works, turning them into separate Autonomous objects, accompanied by the loss of a true monumentality. And with the onset of the Renaissance, with the disappearance of the skeleton forms of the Gothic architecture stained glass is stripped of the natural environment of his existence and loses the status of epic-meaningful art industry, on an equal footing with other forms of art.

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