Show Us The Most Amazing Examples of Stained Glass

Throughout history, stained glass has become just as synonymous with art as it has religion. All across the globe, you can find technicolor panes illustrating magnificent motifs and imagery. In the Danse Macabre chapel at St. Mary’s Church in Lübeck, Germany, ghastly figures dance across the colorful windows, the images paying homage to a medieval mural destroyed during World War II. In Shiraz, Iran’s Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, when the sun shines through its tinted panes, blending with the rose-colored bricks, an incredible pink hue fills the room. These are just a couple of examples, but all over the world, there are eye-popping stained glass marvels that have to be seen to be believed. Now we want to hear about some of your favorite works of stained glass artistry from across the globe.


(Image: Tango7174/Public Domain)

In the thread below, tell us about your favorite stained glass wonder, where it is, and why you love it. It could be a particular scene that caught your attention, or an entire series of panes that left you awestruck. What’s the theme and what does it symbolize to you? Is there any particular history behind the glass or location? Don’t hesitate to post any non-religious examples either! Be sure to include any pictures you might have as well. Your response may be included in an upcoming round-up article on Atlas Obscura. Let’s see those indelible works of delicate colored glass!

7 Likes

I have seen so many wonderful stained glass windows that it’s hard to choose. There was one mentioned in the “ceiling” discussion in Barcelona but one I like for the wonderful faces is the window by Mucha at the St. Vitus cathedral in Prague. It’s the story of St. Wenceslas.

Though there’s the stained glass window of Clyde Tombaugh, the discoverer of Pluto, that also shows the solar system. I don’t have a photo of that, however.

10 Likes

I found this stained glass in the recreation center on the riverfront of Pripyat (Chernobyl Fluvial) quite interesting. Of course it is beautiful and the location is intriguing, but the construction was very unique. The Soviets could not afford ‘normal’ stained glass and the precision cutting required, so they used regular or painted glass, stuck together, like a mosaic. I’d never seen it done this way before.

12 Likes

There is a soft spot in my cold darkened heart for Harry Clark. We are both of Irish ancestry, but his life was cut short by tuberculosis at the age of 34. He was a leading figure in the Irish Arts & Crafts Movement. His work was greatly influenced by Art Nouveau & Art Deco. Though he worked in many mediums his stained glass pieces are rare. Finding them has been a passion of mine.

CIMG7976

13 Likes

I’ve seen quite a few stained glass windows but for me its always the ones created for secular purposes that impress me most. Yes , the religious ones can indeed be beautiful but for me they are always tained by that association.

I suppose ultimately the secular ones usually celebrate some political ideology, historic event , or scientific discovery with a similar religiosity but they strike me as more interesting and worthy , which is probably hypocritical of me to think that way but whatever.

My favourite is definitely the Cosmovitral Botanical gardens in Toluca which are inspired by the philosophy of Jose Vasconcelos and the theme of the cosmic man , I’ve only been there about twice , years ago, but the impression of the light flooding through all those vibrant coloured windows sticks in my mind vividly.

4 Likes

That Christ figure is haunting!

3 Likes

Thats so cool and interesting history. I certainly need to dig into that more. Thanks for sharing!

1 Like

As a stained glass maker and historian, I always find these sort of threads difficult as the best stained glass is not necessarily the most amazing, it is the work that is most appropriate to its site. So the windows by Charles Connick at the Heinz Chapel in Pittsburgh are a huge tour-de-force and make one gasp, but I would argue that Wilson’s little Lady Chapel windows in Bathgate are just as perfect in their way.
Where it gets really interesting is when you get work like that of Bossanyi in Canterbury Cathedral - glowing with selenium and cadmium heat and beautifully balanced, but utterly garish in the context of an old building; at the same time, Wilson’s Warrior Chapel windows in the same cathedral are perfect in their context, while utterly failing to make one gasp. Most discussions show just the window without the situ, or worse, a small section claiming it’s a great window when it’s actually a mediocre window with a spark of genius in one panel.
For just quiet contemplative work, perfect in its setting, you are hard pushed to find much like Douglas Strachan’s St Margaret’s Chapel windows in Edinburgh Castle.
stmags_inside-007-19_wee stmags_wallace-0014-19_wee

9 Likes

This was awesome context, thanks for providing us Obscurians with an insiders point of view!! :beers::fist:

2 Likes

The Wade Memorial Chapel in Cleveland not only has the “Flight of Souls” window, but also THREE LARGE WALLS covered in Tiffany stained glass. What a sight…

2 Likes

St. Chapele (?sp) in Paris, right behind the Conciergerie. It’s absolutely stunning.

20 Likes

St. Davids Cathedral in Wales

8 Likes

Stained glass in Le Corbusier’s church Notre-Dame de Haut is pretty different

13 Likes

Marc Chagall’s beautiful blue stained glass windows in the Stephanskirche, Mainz, Germany. It took a long time for the church pastor to convince him: Chagall, a jew, didn’t want to have anything to do with Germany after WW2. Finally, Chagall understood that this project would reflect both a renewed friendship between France and Germany and an important reconciliation between the Jews and Germany. He completed them at 91 years of age!
Chagall's Stained-Glass Windows in Mainz - iTravelWithArt

9 Likes

The Mucha stained glass is stunning. Thanks.

1 Like

Amazing, original work. Thank you for bringing this artist to our attention.

2 Likes

The “Creation” rose window at Washington, DC, National Cathedral. Installed in 1976, by artist Rowan LeCompte and fabricator Dieter Goldkuhle.

8 Likes

No list would be complete without The Nasir al-Mulk Mosque (aka The Pink Mosque) in Shiraz, Iran

14 Likes

And of course let’s not forget Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona!

17 Likes

And lastly, a staircase in an old home in Tbilisi, Georgia

13 Likes