The Allure of Stained Glass Windows
When I was a kid in the upper Midwest United States I would daydream for lengthy times staring at the stained glass window in the entryway hall of our home. The glass itself was beveled which allowed the sun to dance through some of the images. In my juvenile mind it was magical, or mystical. If I stood in the very right position looking through the stained glass, I could see the steeple glistening at our nearby church. When I attended church I would have to catch myself from daydreaming while looking at the beautiful window artwork.
As I matured it entered my mind that the artists themselves had some very special talent to create some breathtaking beauty. The gothic cathedrals of medieval Europe took pride in the ceiling to floor window art amid the architectural beauty of columns and vaulted ceilings.
Originally, only geometric designs of ground-up melted metals framed glass for the windows. Later, the Renaissance brought the freedom and desire to create beauty, and artists would paint their religious passions on the existing framed glass.
During the Victorian Era an occasional coat of arms would appear on church stained glass windows. In the late 19th century new home construction was beginning to include windows with stained glass. The composition of the metals and the paints changed over time, and today stained glass crafting is very popular.
There are some markets showcasing vintage stained-glass copies, but nothing can compare to the original works, especially those dating back to the 19th century and before.
Sadly, many original stained glass windows with their intricate geometric designs and beautiful religious art are being removed from churches for various reasons. While some are being sold outright to the public, there are some non-profit organizations that take special care to sell the stained glass windows to only the best homes which are most often other churches across the nation. Some of the rare pieces are truly works of art and sell for well over $25,000.
My next cross country travel will include planned stops at some churches to admire the splendor of the windows, while I try to recapture more of those childhood mystical dreams.