Stained glass is a monumental art, a corporate enterprise dependent on a patron with whom artists blend their voices. Combining the fields now labeled decorative arts, architecture, and painting, the window transforms our experience of space. Windows of colored glass were essential features of medieval and Renaissance buildings. They provided not only light to illuminate the interior but also specific and permanent imagery that proclaimed the importance of place. Commissioned by monks, nuns, bishops, and kings, as well as by merchants, prosperous farmers, and a host of anonymous patrons, these windows vividly reflect the social, religious, civic, and aesthetic values of their eras.
Beautifully illustrated with reproductions from the remarkable stained glass collection at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Stained Glass addresses the making of a stained glass window, its iconography and architectural context, the patrons and collectors, and the challenges of restoration and display. The selected works include examples from Austria, Belgium, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Subject matter ranges from monumental religious scenes for Gothic churches to lively heraldic panels made for houses and other secular settings. Integrating comparisons to works of art in other media, such as manuscripts, drawings, and panel paintings, this book encourages the general reader to see stained glass as an element of a broad artistic production.