Lecture: Stained Glass: Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in an art history class. Professor: OK, now, um, a sort of paradigmatic art form of the Middle Age was stained-glass art. Stained glass, of course, is simply glass that has been colored and, uh, cut into pieces and re-assembled to form a picture or decorative design. To truly experience the beauty of this decorative glass, you should see it with light passing through it, uh, especially Sun light, which is why stained-glass is usually used for windows. But, of course, it has other uses especially nowadays. Um, anyway, the art of making stained-glass windows developed in Europe, um, during the middle Ages, and was closely related to church buildings. In the early 1100s, a church building method was developed that reduced the stress on the walls, so more space could be used for window openings, allowing for large and quite elaborate window designs. Um, back then, the artists made their own glass, but first, they came up with the design. Uh, paper was scarce and expensive so typically they drew the design onto a white table top. They draw the principal outline but also outline the shape of each piece of glass to be used, and, uh, indicate its color. Now, in the window itself, the pieces of glass would be held together by strips of lead so, uh, so in the drawing the artist would also indicate the locations of the lead strips. Then you could put a big piece of glass on the table top and see the design right through it, and use it to guide the cutting of the glass into smaller pieces. Male Student: And the lead, that was just to hold the whole piece glass together? Professor: Well, uh, lead is strong and flexible so it's ideal for joining pieces of glass cut in different shapes and sizes. Uh, but up to the 15th century, the lead strips also helped created the design. They were worked into the window as part of the composition. Uh, they were used to outline figures to show boundaries, just like you might use solid line in a pencil drawing. Male Student: How did they get the color? I mean, how did they color the glass? Professor: Well, up until the 16th century, stained-glass was colored during the glass making process itself. Uh, you got specific colors by adding metallic compounds to the other glass-making ingredients. So, uh, if you wanted red, you added copper. If you wanted green, you added iron. You just added these compounds to the other ingredients that the glass was made of. Female Student: So each piece of glass is just one color? Professor: Yes, uh, at least up until the 16th century. Uh, then they started, uh, you started to get painted-glass. Painted-glass windows are still referred to as stained-glass, but the colors were, actually, painted directly onto clear glass after the glass was made. So, um, with this kind of stained-glass, you could, uh, paint a piece of glass with more than one color. Female Student: And with painted-glass they still used the lead strips? Professor: Yes, with really large windows it took more than one piece of glass, so you still needed lead strips to hold the pieces together. But the painters actually tried to hide them, so it was different from before when the lead strips were part of the design and it's different because with painted-glass the idea of light coming through to create the, uh, magical effect wasn't the focus anymore. The paint work was, and painted-glass windows became very popular. In the 19th century, people started using them in private houses and public buildings. Unfortunately, many of the original stained-glass windows were thought to be old fashioned, and they were actually destroyed, replaced by painted-glass. Female Student: They actually broke them? That showed good judgment, real foresight, didn't it? Professor: Yes! If only they had known! Uh, and it's not just that old stained-glass is really valuable today, we lost, possibly, great art work. But, luckily, there was a revival of the early techniques in the mid-1800s and artists went back creating colored glass and using the lead strips in their designs. The effects are much more beautiful. In the 19th century, uh, Louis Tiffany came up with methods to create beautiful effects without having to paint the glass. He layered pieces of glass and used thin copper strips instead of lead, which let him make these really intricate flowery designs for stained-glass, which he used in lamp shades. You've heard of Tiffany lamp shades, right? These, of course, took advantage of the new innovation of electric lighting. Electric light bulbs don't give quite the same effect as sunlight streaming through stained-glass but it's close. So, layered glass, Tiffany glass, became very popular and still is today. So, um, let's look at some examples of different types of stained-glass from each era.