A History of Stained Glass from Medieval to Modern Times

Aidan D. Terry

Stained glass peaked as an art form during the Gothic Era of the Middle Ages in Northern Europe, and it continued into the Renaissance as the mediums golden age declined. This essay examines a brief history of stained glass across Europe from Medieval times to the United States after the 19th century, a period of nearly eight hundred years, but an art form that originated from a time before Christ. The primary focus of this essay is to examine the tools and processes of the craftsmen and the painters. Drawing upon the views of the author as well as Alastair Duncan from his book The Technique of Leaded Glass provides a glimpse directly in to primary accounts of creating glass work, and using the tools of the trade. This essay delves into locations such as Sante-Chapelle and Chartres in France from the Middle Ages, Renaissance stained glass from Germany, and 19th century Gothic Revival glass from Philadelphia, PA USA, and provides unique differentiations between the different time periods. The modernization and simplification of the processes such as grinding the glass edges, the innovations in tools for the craftsmen such as the glass cutter and soldering iron, and the production of entirely new processes like copper foil, as well as new forms of glass from L.C. Tiffany, and John La Farge have quietly brought about a new era to a forgotten art. Without these innovations, the art of stained glass would forever reside in the past.

Full Paper: A History of Stained Glass from Medieval to Modern Times

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