HISTORY OF THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF STAINED-GLASS ART (part 1)
When sunlight penetrates through the high openings of windows, stained glass paintings, stained glass patterns seem to flash, light up in bright color, begin to glow, transforming the interior, filling it with a fantastic play of colored glass.
Stained-glass window is one of the most remarkable phenomena of monumental art. He got his current name from the French word “vitrage” – glass. Until recently, this term was understood as an ornamental or plot decorative composition (in a window, door, partition, in the form of an independent panel) made of glass or other material that transmits light.
According to scientists, the simplest stained-glass windows existed already in Ancient Egypt from the 2nd millennium BC. and in ancient Rome – from the 1st millennium A.D. People’s interest in the light-color effect and such a vivid symbolism of glasses already at the very early stages determined the inclusion of the stained-glass window not only in the everyday life of material culture. Going beyond its borders, he soon became a symbolic bearer of certain spiritual values.
Feeling this great magic of colored glass, the spiritual fathers introduced stained glass into the circulation of church life, as an element of interior design of cathedrals. According to them, the stained-glass window is designed to protect a person from temptation, the multi-colored window has a dual purpose: on the one hand, it is the “entrance” to the unearthly kingdom of Truth, Light and Spirit. On the other hand, a barrier that protects a person from the Divine dazzling radiance, and does not allow to break the distance between the earthly and the heavenly.
Unlike Western Europe, stained glass art in Russia has a relatively short history. Scientists associate it with the first quarter of the 19th century, when in 1820 the first experiments in such a delicate glass-making field were undertaken by domestic manufacturers. Already by 1900-1910. stained glass art in Russia, as the authors of serious studies unanimously claim, has reached its peak. However, the 1917 revolution interrupted the development of the Russian stained glass window, the history of which totaled by that time only about a hundred years.
From the moment of its appearance in Russia, stained-glass windows immediately became a very common decoration in the interiors of wealthy Russian noble mansions. “Fashion for multi-colored windows, researchers say, came to Russia from Western Europe along with a complex of romantic ideas and ideas.”
For a short period from 1820 to 1910 the stained-glass window technique has noticeably evolved, iconography and the placement of stained-glass windows in the living space have also changed. The changes also affected the terminology. If in the era of romanticism polychrome decorative glazing was called in Russia “transparent (transparent) painting”, then at the end of the 19th century – “patterned glass”, and since the 1900s. – the same as today – the term “stained glass”. A fair question arises: if Ancient Russia, having adopted Christianity from Byzantium, followed the established canon in the structure of the church and the atmosphere of worship, then why, unlike the Byzantine Empire, where already before the XII century. Stained-glass windows were used in the decoration of some churches. Was Russia so late?
As some researchers note, some of the experiments on decorative polychrome glazing in our country were more of an episodic nature, without finding a continuation in the practice of ancient Russian construction. Here they were not used for a number of reasons: due to climatic conditions, other than in medieval Europe, the spatial organization of the temple, etc. In addition, initially Orthodox traditions forbade writing icons on glass because of the fragility and fragility of the material itself, and hence the image depicted on it, in which, according to Christian concepts, the one who is depicted on the icon is mysteriously present.
In secular buildings, the use of stained glass depended entirely on the import of colored glass, which was then fabulously expensive and rare. Even in wealthy homes, windows were covered with a fish bubble, oiled paper, and mica. Sources indicate the existence of painted mica “endings” with the image of people, animals and birds in geometric ornaments. They can be considered, according to scientists, analogues of picturesque Western European bends.
In the XVII century, even with the appearance and development of the first Russian glass factories, color glazing of houses remained the destiny of the elect. Full-fledged typesetting stained-glass windows found their application in the homes of princes Vasily and Alexei Golitsyn, in the chambers of the boyar Kirill Naryshkin and some other eminent people. Also in the XVII century. painted glass was found in the windows of houses of the Russian nobility: for example, in the Kolomna Palace and the “Cross Tent” of Patriarch Filaret.