Photos & Pictures of the Stained Glass Windows of Chartres Cathedral, France { 140 images } Created 17 Feb 2013

Images pictures & photos of the Gothic medieval stained glass windows of Notre Dame de Chartres Cathedral. Probably the most complete collection of medieval stained glass windows is in Chartres Cathedral. After a fire damaged the previous cathedral in 1194, construction started on the present building. The Cathedral was built quickly over 26 years and has a coherence in its design that does not suffer from the endless alterations that other Gothic Cathedrals built over many decades suffer from. The stained glass windows of Chartres show the inginuety and creative fervour of the medieval mind which contradicts the idea that this era was devoid of great culture. It is striking in Chartres the lack of the written word in most of the stained glass windows which demonstrates not only the illiteracy of medieval man but shows that he understood each of the visual narratives depicted in the scenes in the stained glass windows of Chartres. Each stained glass window is made up of geometric panels that depict a scene from an events or lives of the characters the window is dedicated to. There are several windows dedicated to central Catholic themes such as the Virgin Mary and the Passion and the life of Christ. Some of the windows are dedicated to saints that are no longer so well know such as St Pantaleon or St Remigius, but St Nicholas, who is associated with Christmas, has 3 windows dedicated to his life showing that the cult of charity was being supported heavily by the Medieval Catholic church. Most of the stained glass windows were paid for by wealthy citizens of Chartres in the hope that the gift would speed their soles through the feared purgatory to eternal bliss in Heaven. At the bottom of many windows are 2 or 3 panels dedicated to the benefactor of trades of the town the benefactor was associated with. As these signature panels and the other scenes are set in the medieval period it is possible to get a picture of medieval dress and customs from the windows Charlemagne who supposedly donated the Sancta Camisa, believed to be the tunic worn by the Blessed Virgin Mary at the time of Christ's birth, to Chartres in 876 also has a window dedicated to him. Early medieval glass was soda-based and examples of a richly-coloured blue glass that was produced using soda as the alkali can be seen in Chartres. Paint was also applied to glass as a type of enamel, usually dark brown or black, formed from a mixture of: ground copper or iron oxide; powdered glass; wine, urine or vinegar; and gum arabic. The enamel was fixed by ‘firing’ the glass in an annealing oven.

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