The color of the glass itself, while maintaining its
richness, was no longer enriched by small jewel-like pieces set in
strong dark lines of lead, like a sparkling curtain of oriental richness.
Not like the pale silvery tones of shimmering light of the English glass
master's work. Instead, the definite realization of persons, and such
concrete substances as fabrics and architectural backgrounds, was sought
for. In the last development of this art, that of the seventeenth
century, landscapes were introduced and by the aid of colored enamel
paint applied to the surface of the glass the work became more and more
opaque until all beauty in the glass itself disappeared. It was literally
painted glass without an effort to preserve the translucid quality in the
material itself, considered of such importance by the best workers in
glass of all times. While the influence of climate is not to be forgotten
in this neglect of color for mere monotone, other considerations also
prevailed and realism, rather than religious inspiration, which had been
the sustaining motive of the Gothic art work, became the sole object of
the later work in glass in the Netherlands (Holland and Belgium).
Under these conditions it is not surprising that
one who has seen the glory of wonderful color created by the
thirteenth-century glass workers in Italy, France or England has a sense
of deep disappointment when introduced to the work of these later times
in Europe, which is to be found everywhere. The last change noted
substituted plain white glass cut in rather large squares on which the
entire work was executed in enamel paint (fired of course in the kiln).
When flesh-colored enamel paint came into use, the portrait artist in
glass became in high favor with
all the princes and titled people, as well as others of less exalted
station who thus could have their persons placed prominently in public
view. The cathedrals of Antwerp, Brussels, Liège, and many more,
preserve in their windows work of this later period.
Among the celebrated Netherlands artists who
painted glass are Frans Floris, Michel van Coxie, van der Mont, van
Balen, van Thulden and van Diepenzeeck.
The Metropolitan Museum in New York is the
fortunate possessor of two complete windows and four circular medallions
representing the best work of the first half of the sixteenth century of
this celebrated school of Flemish glass painters. They are the work of
Valentine Bousch and were made for the Abbey of Flavigny, near Nancy, in
Eastern France, and bear the date 1534. These windows remained in their
original setting in the Abbey Church until the final suppression of the
Monastic Orders in France, when they were sold and stored in Paris.
There they were purchased by the Metropolitan Museum from the income of
the fund bequeathed the Museum by Joseph Pulitzer.
Furnishing, as they do, excellent examples of
the complete surrender to Renaissance influences on the part of designers
of stained glass, these windows display the skill of the glass painters
of that time in a most complete form, and are worthy of careful study
on the part of any one interested in stained glass. The subject of the
two complete windows are "The Deluge" and "Moses and The Law."
Late Renaissance glass is well represented by
windows in the Groote Kirk, Gouda, Holland, and in the Cathedrals of
Brussels and Antwerp, Belgium.