One thing I really enjoyed this holiday was all the wonderful stained glass throughout Europe. There was a healthy mix of medieval and contemporary to explore. We came across it in majestic cathedrals, in out of the way monastries and in tiny local churches. Ancient or modern, it lifted my soul to see the glorious , glowing colours and spend a little time reflecting on higher things than the next ice cream!
Here’s a little sample of some of my favourites:
We were walking through the small village of Penne and came across the village church. We ducked inside to have a look ( it just seems disrespectful not to) and were rewarded with some stunning modern stained glass windows that really lit up the otherwise dark space. Even more impressive were the refracted light patterns that blazed across the widow sills and spilled onto the tiled floor.
There were many examples of biblical story depictions. They were a window ( excuse the pun) into medieval times when congregations were taught through the parables and stories found in the church windows. If I find them so remarkable today, standing out from all the competing visual stimuli, how astonishing must they have been to the ordinary villager who lived a life with little ornamentation.
There were also windows that were more an art form than a worshipful window, complete with signature. I’m not sure who the artist is but I found their work in several churches in France. I like the looseness and fluidity of these windows and the invitation to interpret them as the viewer wishes.
Sometimes the whole church seemed to be filled with the refracted light from the lofty stained glass windows, light bouncing off columns , across floors and onto empty chairs.
My favourite refracted light pattern is this star shaped dazzler I came across in the entrance to the former pilgrimage church of Pilgrimage church of St. John Nepomuk (Zelana Hora) in the Cezch Republic. The church is famous for it’s star shaped design and is full of star symbols. The girl on duty kindly moved a rope barrier so I could take this shot. We were lucky enough to have this Unesco listed church to ourselves and it was a great experience.
Hope you enjoyed my round up of stained glass windows from this years trip. Of course there were many famous windows we didn’t visit this time, but it was interesting to see so many different styles and how widespread modern windows are. It’s encouraging to see this ecclesiastical art form continuing to evolve.