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Stained Glass Image

Woodblock Print of Glass Maker

Based on remains found at Pompeii, stained glass was first used by wealthy Romans in their villas and palaces in the first century A.D. It began to be regarded as an art form when Constantine first permitted Christians to worship openly in 313 A.D., as they began to build churches based on Byzantine models.

Image of 10th Century Stained Glass The earliest surviving example of pictorial stained glass is a Head of Christ from the tenth century excavated from Lorsch Abbey in Germany. By the ninth and tenth centuries, as the demand for churches increased so did the production of decorative stained glass windows. With the advent of Gothic architecture, stained glass flourished as the expansion of immense window spaces in Gothic cathedrals demanded a new approach to the medium.

During the Renaissance, 15th - 17th Centuries, artists began to be patronized by a new wealthy mercantile class. Architecture is emphasized less as glass takes on a new organic quality. Due to the Reformation (16th c.), the creation of religious imagery had severe penalties and glass makers had to seek secular commissions.


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