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Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Profiles In Art: Stained Glass

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Stained glass art we did as part of our lesson on Louis Comfort Tiffany

Stained glass art we did as part of our lesson on Louis Comfort Tiffany

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Historical Overview:

Based on dated artifacts, historians believe stained glass art originated in ancient Rome when pieces of colored glass were used to decorate window frames. It is best known for its popular use in Medieval Europe, where pieces of colored glass were arranged into patterns to create religious and nobility-themed window scenes in cathedrals and castles. Many people of the time did not read or write so stained glass windows were used as a form of storytelling, not just decorative art. The most common designs were borders, portraits and using various panels to depict scenes. Stained glass as an art form was threatened during the Renaissance period when murals and frescoes became popular, but survived and regained popularity in the nineteenth century. Louis Comfort Tiffany is credited with expanding the art form to include nature-themed depictions, as well as using stained glass in new ways, such as lamps and vases. Stained glass is still a popular art form in many cathedrals, but it has also found its way into residential and business architectural-artistic designs around the world.

Louis Comfort Tiffany ~ Feature a biography on Tiffany, world-renown stained glass master, who is famous for his nature-inspired panels, as well as lamps and vases. Here is a blank Biography Worksheet template you can use for this lesson. This is my son’s completed Tiffany Bio as an example.

Three Medieval Forms of Storytelling Art ~ Discuss the three main forms of storytelling art in Medieval times: stained glass, tapestries (woven scenes or stories) and manuscripts (artistic books mostly created in monasteries and considered treasured works of art). Offer a brief introduction of each and compare them to show similarities and differences between them.

Art & Geometry ~ You can introduce the concept of stained glass art to discuss colors, lines, shapes and patterns:

  • Color ~ the tint of something (another word for color is hue); discuss color wheel, primary (red, yellow, blue) and secondary (orange, purple, green), warm and cool colors, complementary colors (opposite each other on the color wheel), etc.
  • Line ~ a continuous mark; discuss various types (curved, zig zag, spiral, wavy, diagonal, vertical, horizontal)
  • Shape ~ a set of points that make up a shape; discuss two ways a shape is created: when lines connect at various points (such as geometric shapes) or when a line bends (other objects/designs)
  • Pattern ~ a repeated/recurring design; discuss patterns on tiles, borders, quilts or stained glass.

Our pumpkin themed stained glass art ~ Create a stained glass art or crafts with watercolors like the one featured on this post. I created my own template by tracing a pattern with a black permanent marker onto a sheet of heavyweight acid free paint paper. I then showed my son how to use watercolors and discussed colors we could use. We then painted the stained glass, let it dry and hung it onto a window pane with a piece of tape.

Museum or Gallery ~ Visit a museum or art gallery to see stained glass displays and learn more about them and the artists who made them. An alternative is to offer a slide show of famous stained glass works to highlight the various themes and ways it is used.

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