The development of a method for creating stained glass windows was one of the outstanding technical innovations of the Middle Ages. In his great craftsman's treatise The Various Arts, the twelfth-century monk Theophilus describes how to make stained glass by a process that involved the cutting of a pattern or cartoon, painting the details directly onto the glass surface before firing the design in the kiln, using lead to bond the pieces together, and finally placing the completed window into its metal framework. Stained glass embodied an aesthetic of light that had tremendous appeal in the Middle Ages, establishing the colored window as an essential building element in the great cathedrals: architects designed their elevations with the specific purpose of housing these great "tapestries of light." Story telling was accomplished in stained glass with great dexterity in many Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals, and in this lecture Virginia Raguin will present some of the most outstanding examples, including the windows at Chartres Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral, and the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris.
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