A Brief History of Stained Glass
By [http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Michael_B_Wall/663911]Michael B Wall
There are examples of colored glass that have survived since ancient times. The Egyptians and the Romans were masters in the manufacture of small colored glass objects. Many windows remain from early Christian churches of the 4th and 5th century which are filled with ornate patterns of thinly sliced alabaster set in wooden frames, giving a stained glass like effect. There is evidence of stained glass windows in churches and monasteries in Britain dating as early as the 7th century. Around 675 CE Benedict Biscop imported workmen from France to glaze the windows of the Monastery of St. Peter at Monkwearmouth. Evidence indicates that by the 8th century tinted glass was also used by Islamic architects in Southwest Asia. During the 10th or 11th century stained glass began to flourish as an art. During the Middle Ages it became a major pictorial form used to illustrate narratives of the Bible. For hundreds of years stained glass production continued in Europe.
In the 16th century, as a result of the Reformation in England, large numbers of Medieval and Renaissance windows were smashed and replaced with plain glass. The Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII and the 17th century injunctions of Oliver Cromwell resulted in the loss of thousands of windows. Traditional methods of working with stained glass were also lost. They were not rediscovered in England until the early 19th century when the Catholic revival spawned renewed interest in the Medieval church and brought about a revival of church construction in the Gothic style. Many new churches were built and many old churches restored. This created a great demand for stained glass and a resurrection of the art form.
During the French Revolution many churches and cathedrals lost their windows due to neglect and destruction. A great number of these were restored in the 19th century. Also during the mid to late 19th century many ancient buildings in Germany were restored and some completed in the Medieval style. The demand for stained glass swept across Europe.
As the 20th century began the Gothic movement gave way to newer styles of architecture. Many of the 19th century manufacturers of stained glass failed and went out of business. Following World War II another revival occurred based on the desire to restore the windows of thousands of churches throughout Europe that had been destroyed as a result of bombing.
Today, in the 21st century, stained glass craftsmanship remains as a viable architectural art form. It is employed in restoration projects as well as contemporary designs. Though most notably used in windows, it has become a popular medium for lamp shades, hanging panels, fireplace screens and various forms of objets d'art.
Michael Wall is the president of P P & F Enterprises. P P & F's mission is to provide products for the home that promote safety, comfort, and relaxation. The flagship online store, Fireplacedreams.com [http://Fireplacedreams.com] offers stylish and decorative fireplace screens fireplace tools, stained glass fireplace screens and other accessories for the fireplace at competitive prices. Enhance your living environment while keeping your family safe. Always use a fireplace screen. View our fine selection at Fireplacedreams.com
Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?A-Brief-History-of-Stained-Glass&id=4935498] A Brief History of Stained Glass