Until the 5 September 2010 – State Hermitage Museum

The exhibition in the Rooms of the Winter Palace (169-173), prepared by the State Hermitage, introduces to the art of Swiss stained glass of the 16th-18th centuries. The exhibition includes seventy best examples of stained glass of the Swiss school which represent genre and technological diversity of the Hermitage collection.

Stained glass is window glass, composed of multicolored spin-dyed pieces of glass, fastened with leaded rods. In the period of its origination it imitated mosaic and in the Middle Ages it became an independent kind of decorative and applied arts. In the basis of the painted glass manufacturing there was a graphical source by which the stained glass was made. The Masters of the Middle Ages considered graphical samples as incidental material. When by the end of the 15th century the drawing had become self-sufficient, independent sphere of application of creative power of the artist, famous painters and engravers as the authors for the projects of painted glass. In the 16th century project drawings for the stained glass were made by such famous masters as Albrecht Durer, Hans Holbein Junior, Lucas van Leyden.

Themes for the Swiss stained glass were not only traditional Evangelic and Biblical motives but various details from people’s life that made it a valuable historic source. The Reformation played not the last role in the process of forming of the stained glass of the 16th-18th centuries: construction of large luxurious cathedrals almost stopped and due to this the demand for large stained glass windows ceased. So called “cabinet stained glass” which may be used for social buildings came to replace them.

The Hermitage collection includes the stained glass of all major types, determined by the researchers, they are: illustrative stained glass, Bildscheibe; armorial stained glass, Wappenscheibe; figurative stained glass, Figurenscheibe; salutation stained glass, Willkommscheibe; wedding stained glass, Allianzwappenscheibe; stained glass with the standard bearer, Bannerträgerscheibe; stained glass for entry into service, Stifterscheibe; peasant stained glass, Bauernscheibe; magistrate stained glass, Ämterscheibe.

The major part of the collection is made up of illustrative stained glass (type Bildscheibe), the main image of which are made on the basis of the specific theme.

Museum Hours