Stained glass windows are used in churches to inform the viewer of the religion via symbolism/narrative. Stained glass windows were widely used in churches from the 12th-16th century. Stained glass windows were often referred to as ‘poor man’s bible’.
Stained glass windows are absolutely adorable. They are the center of attraction in any church. They aren’t just beautiful but serve a purpose.
Let’s see why churches have been using stained glass windows for the past few centuries.
What is the Purpose of Stained Glass Windows in Churches?
Stained Glass windows were affixed in churches to enhance their beauty while informing the viewer of the Bible’s teachings.
Stained glass windows of the ancient churches provide an insight into the medieval world. Portraits and Heraldry are often seen on these windows.
Light is revered by Christians, thanks to the Bible’s teachings. This is why they went to great lengths to create these masterpieces.
The subject matter of stained glass windows was mainly religious. It helped enhance the followers’ faith in their religion.
What was the purpose of Stained Glass windows in Gothic Cathedrals?
Stained glass windows were affixed in Gothic Cathedrals so that the hall was filled with a mystical colored light. They also helped spread the Bible’s teachings to the illiterate followers of the Church.
Stained glass windows were quite important in the High Gothic cathedrals, thanks to their beauty and what they represented.
Gothic stained glass windows were a visible representation of the Bible’s teachings. They were made so that even illiterate people could understand the religion.
The stained glass windows have become bigger over the years and designs more intricate almost resembling paintings.
Stained glass windows were the center of gothic architecture as they colorfully depicted the religious ideology.
When did Churches start using Stained glass windows?
‘Glazed’ glass windows that date back to the 7th century have been found. Churches started using stained glass windows extensively from the 12th century to the 16th century.
The stained glass art form has been developed for centuries before it became a favorite of the Cathedral. Romans and Egyptians used to create small colored objects using glass.
This art was slowly developed to produce stained glass windows in the 12th century.
The earliest stained glass windows were found in a Monastery in France that dated back to 675 A.D. They were made to be used in a St. Peter Monastery.
Why are the stained glass windows sometimes called the poor man’s Bible?
Stained glass windows are called the poor man’s Bible because they depicted the stories of the Bible so that even the illiterate could understand it.
We can say that stained glass windows have been crucial in spreading the religion’s message to the masses. God doesn’t discriminate against the illiterate from the literate.
Most people of middle age couldn’t read and relied on the priests to tell them the stories of the Bible. Stained glass windows were made so that such people could learn the Bible stories.
How was Stained Glass related to Religion and Culture?
Stained glass windows were made to depict the stories of the Bible. Even people who couldn’t read could understand the Bible stories thanks to this art.
Light has great importance in Christianity. This is why they had to devise methods to use stained glass windows widely.
Using stained glass windows they were able to build churches in a way that the light was allowed in but the windows still provided privacy.
The people inside couldn’t see the outdoors. This helps build an ambiance where you’re closer to God than anywhere else.
What was the symbolic message of Stained Glass?
Stained glass windows were made so that even the illiterate could understand the Biblical stories. The stained glass windows artfully depicted the lessons of the Bible.
There’s much more to stained glass windows than meets the eye. Every color and design in the stained glass windows have meaning.
Let’s see what each color represents in a stained glass window.
Red: Red is strongly associated with Jesus Christ, thanks to the sufferings he’d gone through. It also represents the sacrifices of the ancient saints. It is a strong color.
Green: Green represents nature. Green represents faith and contemplation. Green also represents rebirth which has a strong connection to Jesus Christ.
Blue: Blue color is often associated with the Virgin Mary. Blue is the color of the sky and represents hope and heaven.
White: White color represents purity, chastity and is often associated with God.
Yellow: Yellow color has been used to represent the treachery of Judas. Yellow also represents the gates of heaven. The yellow color represents divinity.
Purple: Followers believe that Christ wore purple before his crucifixion. So, purple represents sacrifice and endurance. Purple is also related to God the Father.
Black: Black-colored glass is never used in stained glass windows, at least not in the main image. Black is considered inauspicious.
Gray: Gray color represents the immortality of the spirit.
Rainbow: Symbolizes the diversity of nature and God’s connection with the humans.
All these colors are brought together in various fashions to portray the stories of the Bible.
Why is stained glass more common in modern churches?
Stained glass windows are seen in modern churches because they want to honor and preserve their religious history.
Stained glass is usually preferred for churches because it provides privacy without blocking the light.
Stained glass windows are used to depict the stories of the Bible artistically. They also help build an amazing ambiance inside the church.
Is Stained Glass Renaissance?
Yes, stained glass windows were widely used in the renaissance period, i.e., from the 14th to the 17th century.
The renaissance period promoted the rediscovery of the art and philosophy of the good old times. They promoted classical architecture in this period.
Stained glass windows were used by architects in wealthy domestic settings and public buildings like town halls and small windows were used in homes.
By the renaissance period, stained glass art advanced bringing the costs down. This led to wider adoption of the art.
Secular images were designed on stained glass windows, thanks to the renaissance. Such designs were used even in some churches.
Renaissance artists developed and relied greatly on colored enamels. Stained glass was made using silver staining in the renaissance period.
Happy Crafting 🙂