Rose Windows: History, Styles, and Significance
By [http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Collin_Davis/373526]Collin Davis
Some of the most iconic examples of Gothic stained glass windows are rose windows. Despite featuring a relatively straightforward shape and often being somewhat small in size, rose windows are visually appealing and diverse in terms of the themes they feature. This article describes how to recognize this important category of art glass windows, provides a brief history of the distinctive architectural adornment, and lists some common themes and styles.
What are rose windows?
There are a few ways to determine whether an element can be correctly described as a rose window, sometimes also known as a Catherine window. The first is the shape--these art windows are typically circular. These Gothic stained glass windows have other features as well, however. They are divided into separate parts, usually with pieces made of stone, and their appearance is such that they resemble a rose with many petals.
A brief history of rose art glass windows
The earliest form of these art glass windows was the oculus, a feature of the architecture of Ancient Rome. Essentially a circular opening in a building, the most well-known example of an oculus is probably the one found in the Pantheon. It wasn't until the twelfth century that these openings were made larger, stylized to resemble a multi-petaled flower, and covered with pieces of richly-colored glass. These Gothic stained glass windows were found throughout France, and also enjoyed limited popularity in other countries, including Spain and England.
Common styles and themes of rose art glass windows
The appearance of rose windows is limited only by the artist's imagination, but there are a few themes that show up again and again in these Gothic stained glass windows. Often, Jesus or the Virgin Mary is the centerpiece of the flower and the work. Other subjects commonly depicted in rose windows include the Twelve Apostles, the Last Judgment, important saints and angels, and the signs of the zodiac.
What is the symbolism and significance of rose windows?
Many people assume that this window style is used to honor the Virgin Mary. It is true that Mary is often associated with this flower - she is routinely referred to as the Mystical Rose. However, this connection is unlikely since these works were not actually known as rose windows until the 17th century. It's more likely that the significance lies in the geometry of these windows. For instance, the single circle symbolizes unity while the number of divisions (typically 12) can represent several concepts, including divisions of time or the Apostles.
Regardless of whether all those who see these art glass windows will understand the deeper meaning intended by the artists who created them, they are at the very least eye-catching additions to religious spaces that can promote peaceful meditation and reflection. This is something anybody who attends church will value and appreciate.
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Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Rose-Windows:-History,-Styles,-and-Significance&id=6296549] Rose Windows: History, Styles, and Significance