14th Century Mosaic - Gothic Windows

14th Century Mosaic - Gothic Windows

Examples of Gothic style windows of the fourteenth century mosaic type.

Craftsman Style

A comparison of the two borders on pages 38 and 175, both German work, will show how little difference of principle there was between the thirteenth century craftsman and his immediate successor. The difference in style between the two is strikingly marked the one is quite Romanesque in character, the detail of the other is so comparatively naturalistic; but when you come to look at the way they are executed, the way the glazing is mapped out, the way the leads emphasise the outlines, whilst paint is only used to make out details which lead could not give, you will see that the new man has altered his mind more with regard to what he wants to do in glass than as to how he wants to do it. Very much might be said with regard to the two figures on this page and the opposite.

The French designer has departed from the archaic composition of the earlier Englishman, and put more life and action into his figure, but there is very little difference in the technique of the two men, less than appears in the illustrations; for, as it happens, one drawing aims at giving the lines of the glass, the other at showing its effect. The fourteenth century figure on page 51 relies more than these last upon painting. The folds of the saint's tunic, for example, are not merely traced in outline, but there is some effect of modelling in them.

It will be instructive also to compare the fourteenth century hop pattern on page 173 with the fourteenth century vine on page 364, and the fifteenth century example on page 345. In the first the method of proceeding is almost as strictly mosaic as though it had been a scroll of the preceding century. Leaves, stalks, and fruits are glazed in light colour upon dark, and bounded by the constructional lines of lead. In the second, though the main forms are still outlined by the leads, much greater use is made of paint: the topmost leaf is in one piece of glass with the stalk of the tree, and all the leaves are relieved by means of shading. In the third the artist has practically drawn his vine scroll, and then thought how best he could glaze it; and the leads come very much as they may.

This last-mentioned proceeding is typical of a period not yet under discussion, but the second illustrates very fairly the supplementary use of paint made in the fourteenth century.

A rather unusual but suggestive form of fourteenth century glazing is shown on page 176. It was the almost invariable practice at this period, as in the preceding centuries, to distinguish the pattern, whether of scroll or border, by relieving it against a background of contrasting colour, usually light against dark ; but here the border is varicolored, without other ground than the opaque pigment used for painting out the forms of the leaves, etc., and filling in between them. The method lends itself only to design in which the forms are so closely packed as to leave not too much ground to be filled in. A fair amount of solid paint about the leaves and stalks does no harm. A good deal was used in Early work, and it results in happier effects than when minute bits of background are laboriously leaded in. The main point is and it is one the early glaziers very carefully observed that the glass through which the light is allowed to come should not be made dirty with paint.

It was mentioned before (page 35) how, from the first, a background would be painted solid and a diaper picked out of it. Further examples of that are shown overleaf and on pages 88 and 103, though, as will be seen, a considerable portion of the glass is by this means obscured, the effect is still brilliant; and in proportion as lighter and brighter tints of glass came into use, it became more and more necessary; in fact, it never died out. The diaper opposite belongs to the fifteenth century, and the minuter of the three diapers above, as well as those on pages 88 and 103, belong to the sixteenth century.

S Urbain, Troyes
S Urbain, Troyes.

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