10 Interesting facts about stained glass
Stained Glass is a form of art that has been around for centuries. It was used to decorate churches, cathedrals, and palaces in Europe during the Middle Ages. The technique involves painting on thin sheets of colored glass which are then cut into shapes and arranged to create beautiful patterns or pictures. Today it’s still widely practiced but there have also been many changes over time, with glass art stories being experts in the field. Here we look at 10 interesting facts about stained glass:
Historical facts about stained glass
1) Stained glass windows were first made by monks who had learned their craft from Byzantine craftsmen. They began using this method after they converted to Christianity in the 5th century AD. Monks continued making these windows until the 12th century when secular artists took up the trade.
2) In England, stained glass art makers formed guilds called gilds. These gilds met regularly to share ideas and techniques. By 1350, there were more than 100 different gilds across London alone. Gilds helped each other out with apprenticeships, loans, advertising, marketing, and even insurance against fire damage!
3 ) During the 15th Century, as new technologies such as oil paints became available, painters started experimenting with them instead of traditional methods. This resulted in some stunning works but it didn’t last long because oils could easily be scratched off the surface of the windowpane. Oil paint wasn’t suitable for use on large pieces of artwork either. As a result, stained glass once again came back into fashion.
4) Stained glass is fairly rare today due to its high cost compared to modern alternatives. Above-ground pools, solar panels, and flat-screen TVs are now cheaper than an average stained glass window. That said, you do see quite a few examples of stained glass buildings like banks, hotels, restaurants, museums, etc. And if you want to get creative, check out our DIY project where you can make your own stained glass ceiling light kit for home decor.
5) There are three main types of glass used in stained glass: leaded, clear, and colorless. The leaded glass contains small amounts of tin oxide mixed in so it will scatter sunlight rather than absorb it. Colorless glass doesn’t contain any tinting agents meaning it allows all colors of visible light through. Clear glass is just that – clear -and does nothing to affect what wavelengths of light pass through it. Each type of glass has strengths and weaknesses based on how well it transmits certain frequencies of light.
6 ) When the stained glass was being developed, people wanted to replicate nature as much as possible. So, they experimented with creating images that looked real whether they were landscapes, animals, plants, or anything else found outside. One example is the peacock mosaic below created by artist John Gascoigne. He painted his design onto glass panes and then he hired someone to stitch them together. You might think stitching would leave gaps between the individual sections but no one noticed since the work itself was very detailed.
7) Another way stained glass artists tried to capture natural scenes was by adding gold leaf highlights to objects. Artists did not add gold leaf to every single object though; only those parts that stood out.
8) The most famous stained glass designer of all time is Louis Comfort Tiffany. His windows have been installed in many churches, cathedrals, libraries, and private homes around the world.
9) To create custom-made glass designs, artists first draw their concepts directly onto the glass using opaque colored pencils. Then, they cut shapes from thin sheets of colored glass which represent the image they drew. They may also trace over pre-existing patterns made by another artist. Colored glass shatters when struck by a hammer causing interesting effects including kaleidoscopic reflections.
10) Once the basic shape of the piece is complete, artists start layering different colored glass shards on top of each other. Sometimes, they build up multiple layers until the entire sheet looks finished. At this point, there isn’t enough room left on the sheet to include more details so they move on to the next step.