Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Stain Glass

The art of making stained glass has an interesting history. Its inception can be traced back to the ancient Romans and Egyptians. In the beginning, its use was limited only to jewelry. Later, with development in the technology of making glass, it has now found its much popular use as church windows.
Since less people were literate in those times, biblical events found transcendental representation in the form of stained glass windows. Not much later, rich and the elite started getting it incorporated in their windows as a sign of their influence. Though, the earliest traces of these can be dated to the ninth century but written evidence about this art is found not as late as the twelfth century. Theophilus, a monk, in his work "On Diverse Arts" describes in detail the art of making this form of glass. Keeping in account the chapters he has dedicated to describe the overall process of making and using it, the popularity of this art can be ascertained.

During the last 1000 years of its development as an independent genre of art, making and the use of this form of glass art has witnessed a sea of changes. Earlier, mix of some colours and chemicals were used to stain the glass. However, in the present scenario, use of bronze and wood is also mixed with the art of making such crafted windows. Then, it was not only the technology that changed, even the subject matter of this art witnessed a major change. After the Protestant revolution in England and other parts of Europe, the subject matter started shifting away from religious inspirations and biblical contexts.

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