Book Series Typologie des Sources du Moyen Âge Occidental, vol. 76

Stained Glass Windows

M.H. Caviness

  • Pages: 90 p.
  • Size:160 x 240 mm
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:1996

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-36076-8
  • Paperback
  • Available

This study aims at providing a comprehensive overview of the scholarship on medieval stained glass windows.


"There is no one more qualified to present an overview of current scholarship in the field of stained glass studies than Madeline H. Caviness. (...) the present volume is a welcome addition to anyone's library of reference tools and pedagogical resources." (H. M. Sonne, in: The Medieval Review, 99.01.07)


This study provides an up-to-date overview of the scholarship on a single source material, stained glass. Included are an extensive bibliography, and brief chapters on the nature and development of this medium, the technique of making a window in the middle ages, post-medieval reception and documentation, and the historical significance of windows. Most examples are chosen from English or French sites, though the reference material is comprehensive; for instance, the bibliography includes all the catalogues published by thirteen countries in the Corpus Vitrearum series. The author guides the reader to recent literature on medieval attitudes to glass as a window material, the encoding of exegetical and theological systems, the structuring of narrative, and the function of windows as luminous altar-pieces or as memorials. Researchers are invited to cull from windows information concerning technology, latinity, piety, heraldry and genealogy, dress, and attitudes to class and gender. In order to understand the present condition of windows, brief accounts are given of iconoclasm, early restoration practices, and patterns of collecting. There are nine black and white illustrations that serve to clarify technical details; one of them, illustrating the paint layers in a group of twelfth century heads, was drawn especially for this book. The author, Madeline H. Caviness, is Mary Richardson Professor and Professor of Art History at Tufts University, and served as President of the International Board of the Corpus Vitrearum from 1987 to 1995. Her last book, The Sumptuous Arts at the Royal Abbeys in Reims and Braine (1990), was awarded the Haskins Medal of the Medieval Academy of America for 1993.