Origin of the stained-glass window
The word "stained-glass window" itself is a derivative of the French word [ vitre ], which means "window glass" in translation. At the moment stained-glass windows are not just a window glass, but a whole variety of applied art, aimed at decorating the interior and exterior of our homes, offices, churches and cathedrals. One of the oldest stained-glass windows was found in St. Paul's Church in Great Britain. This stained glass window dates back to around 687 AD. It is worth noting that the stained-glass window is a legacy not only of Europeans. For a very long time the windows were glazed with mica and various stones. The glass itself first appeared in the ancient Egypt, and was almost opaque.
Stained Glass in Europe
Later, Europeans learned how to make transparent glass. As the glass was very curved, small and heterogeneous at the time, it was very difficult to insert it into large windows. Then they invented a stained-glass window made of small pieces of glass, fastening them to each other with an alabaster frame, and later with a profile made of lead.
A pioneer was the Catholic Church in Europe, which realized how emotional the sunlight passing through a colored stained glass window had for parishioners.
One day, during archaeological excavations in 1930, three stained glass elements with the face of Jesus Christ and a cruciform nimbus were found. Forensics showed that these fragments date back to 540 AD. The oldest stained-glass windows are those in Augsburg Cathedral in Germany. At the beginning of the Romanesque period, there were more stained-glass windows in the architectural elements. The main places where they appeared were church cathedrals with thick walls and very large windows that were decorated with stained-glass. At the beginning, a purely ornamental theme dominated in red and blue tones. Later, masters began to complicate their work, resorting to smaller details and images of human figures.
After a while, the stained-glass windows began to include text fragments from the Bible, which described the deeds of the saints, as well as Christ.
Classical technique was formed in the XI century in Europe. In the chronicles of the monk Theophilus in 1100, the process of making stained-glass windows was described. He has barely changed for the classic stained glass technique now. It all begins with the melting of sand glass and the addition of different metal oxides to it to produce different colours and shades. The glass after such melting turned out to be rather heterogeneous, which made each stained glass work of a medieval master unique. Then the fragments were fastened together with a lead I-tape profile. The height of the stained-glass windows could have been up to seven meters. That's why the structure was reinforced with metal. Some elements, such as the faces of saints, were additionally painted with special paints and burned in furnaces for the durability of the paint.
A stained-glass window could consist, for example, of many hundreds of glass elements, all unique and colorful, with influxes and bubbles of air inside the glass. The masters tried to convey the picture in their stained-glass windows as realistically as possible.
In the Renaissance era, stained-glass windows were already more like landscape paintings. There were people and animals, plants and rivers.
Classical stained glass windows entered the Slavic world much later and were used mainly in churches, less often in the houses of nobles and merchants.
Stained-glass windows in the East
In the ancient East, there was a different technique of fastening the glasses with
the help of cementing mortars and the use of nonmetallic frameworks, both made of wood and gypsum.
By the way, the Arabs still use in their stained glass windows the technique of glass fastening with the help of alabaster constructions. Such stained-glass windows are very rare and very pleased with the unusual approach to colors and the principle of stained glass assembly.
The emergence of the Tiffany technique
In the nineteenth century, the son of famous jeweler Charles Lewis Comfort Tiffany began to deliberately seek artistic heterogeneity in glass. He also invented a copper foil tape on the wax glue to frame the glass with subsequent soldering. Due to these connections, stained-glass windows have become more delicate, with a large number of very small fragments, complex lines. So, it was possible to collect complex three-dimensional stained glass compositions, lamps and sconces. That's how the Tiffany technique appeared, named after the greatest designer.
But don't forget to mention John La Farge, who developed opal glass, without which modern stained glass would not have its own chic and rich appearance.
It is worth noting that Tiffany technique was introduced here relatively recently - in the late 80's and early 90's. Many of our artists knew about it and tried to apply it in their works earlier, or to make imitations of stained-glass windows with paints. The main problem was that we did not produce copper self-adhesive foil and high-quality art glass.
We can also make stained-glass windows in Tiffany technique.