The 167 stained glass home windows of Chartres Cathedral, built 1190-1220 CE, space the most finish group surviving everywhere from the center Ages. Numerous windows date to the mid-12th century CE while over 150 make it through from the at an early stage 13th century CE. Over there are religious scenes to tell the faithful the key stories of the Bible and also countless depictions the saints, kings, queens, nobles, knights, and also priests. The city"s sellers donated 42 windows to the cathedral, and also they chop up in numerous smaller scenes showing the full variety of medieval professions indigenous barrel-makers come butchers.

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Medieval Stained Glass

The technique of staining glass for windows using steel oxides dates earlier to at least the 7th century CE and the churches of the byzantine Empire. However, the handmade really came to be a refined art in the 12th and 13th century CE. The five main colours used to "stain" glass were bright ruby red, which come from copper oxide, sapphire blue indigenous cobalt oxide, environment-friendly from iron oxide, yellow native sulphur or soot, and also purple native manganese oxide. These products were added to the glass if it to be being heated, but since the an outcome proved too opaque to enable much light through, often a slim layer of coloured glass to be laid on top of a more thickness pane that transparent or white glass. Painted on the internal side the the glass, details that scenes were rendered using a mixture that glass fillings, steel oxides, and also vinegar or urine. The paint was climate permanently fused onto the glass by putting the pieces right into a kiln.

Individual piece of stained and painted glass to be specially cut according to a design chalked out beforehand top top a wooden board and then put into lead boundaries to do a single composite panel. The perfect panel to be then mounted into the steel armature of the home window frame using dowels and also metal strips. A single tall lancet home window at Chartres may incorporate over 50 together panels of all shapes and also sizes.

Not only decorative, the home windows were likewise intended as a pictorial overview to the Gospel message in an era when couple of could read. Consequently, the wages of sin, the services of salvation, and the lives of the most important saints and biblical figures are displayed as a lesson to all. Many windows, once they phone call a narrative such as the life of an apostle or bible parable, have to be check out from left come right beginning at the base. Four-leafed rosette or quatrefoil panels are read by looking an initial at the bottom leaf, climate the left, centre, and right leaf, and finally the peak leaf. Following are explanation of only some the the many important and striking home windows in Chartres cathedral.

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Winemakers, Zodiac home window Chartres
Lawrence OP (CC BY-NC-ND)

The North rose Window

This window, with a diameter the 10.15 metres, days to c. 1231 CE and also has the design template of the Old testimony prophecies gift fulfilled v Mary together their instrument, for this reason the main panel depicts Jesus Christ as a child with Mary. This centrepiece is encircled through 12 elliptical panels showing four doves and eight angels. Then a circle of 12 diamond-shaped panels depict the 12 majesties of Judah, Christ"s ancestors. The outer ring that semi-circular panels reflects the 12 young prophets. Between the squares and also semi-circles are quatrefoil panels with fleurs-de-lis, the French imperial coat that arms and reminding that the home window was donated by Queen Blanche that Castille, the mother of King louis IX (r. 1226-1270 CE) and his regent from 1226 come 1236 CE. The panels between the rose and also lancet windows listed below repeat the fleur-de-lis template and include the arms of Castille, a yellow lock on a red background.


The lancet windows below the rose display Saint ann in the centre and various kings stated in the Old testament such together Saul (stabbing himself with his sword), David (playing the harp), and Solomon, and also the classic baddies that Nebuchadnezzar II, the idolater the Babylon, and the Egyptian Pharaoh that unwisely chased Moses with the Red Sea.

The South rose Window

This window, through a diameter of 10.56 metres, dates to c. 1224 CE and the central panel depicts Jesus Christ together the referee of the Apocalypse. Surrounding this panel space 12 elliptical panels, eight that which have actually an angel and the other 4 the symbols of the four evangelists. The next ring of one panels and also the outer ring the 12 semi-circular panels all display the 24 elders the Apocalypse, all holding various medieval musical instruments. The tiny quatrefoil panels present the blue and yellow arms of Dreux and also Brittany, house of the window"s donators, count Pierre Mauclerc and also his mam Alix de Bretagne.


The eight of Dreux and Brittany are recurring in the main window of the five lancets listed below the climbed window. These lancet windows display Mary hold the child Jesus in the centre and also two Old testimony prophets one of two people side, each v a brand-new Testament evangelist on their shoulders (left come right: Jeremiah and also Saint Luke, Isaiah and Saint Matthew, Ezekiel and Saint John, and Daniel and also Saint Mark). The imagery maybe reminds the the evangelists, having actually known Christ personally, might see rather better into the future 보다 the older prophets.

The West climbed Window

The West Rose window is the biggest of the cathedral"s three rose windows, measure up 15.42 metres in diameter. It days to c. 1215 CE and depicts scenes from the critical Judgement through Jesus Christ, stood for as the judge of humanity, dominating the central panel. The place of the window was chin symbolic; collection in the west-facing wall surface it catches the soft light of the setting sun at the end of the day, and also so mimics the end of time subject of the window"s scenes.


Radiating the end from the main panel are three rings of circular panels. The first ring reflects eight angels and four apocalyptic animals, each of which represents four of the apostles: a lion because that Saint Mark, one ox because that Saint Luke, an eagle for Saint John, and a winged man for Saint Matthew. The second ring that panels, linked to the first ring by elliptical forms, and also numbering 12, mirrors pairs of apostles and also the 12 tribes. The 3rd and external ring of circular panels, again number is numbered 12, reflects the instruments of Christ"s passion, angels blowing trumpets to announce the day of Judgement and resurrected bodies wearing shrouds that await the decision on your fate. Two panels expose what wake up to the unrepentant sinner through Saint Michael weighing great deeds against bad ~ above his scales and also pitchfork-wielding devils pushing world towards Hell, including one miser still with his money bag dangling indigenous his neck.

The Blue Virgin Window

One of the oldest windows in the cathedral (or at the very least the central four panels of that are), is the Blue Virgin window, additionally known as the Notre Dame de la Belle Verrière window. This window, situated under the West Rose, belongs come the version of the cathedral before the devastating fire that 1194 CE. The central panels present a sit Mary v baby Jesus on her lap, she sits on a throne, put on a crown and also blue robe, and has a blue halo. The bordering panels show six angels and also date to the 13th century CE. The lower part of the home window shows scenes from Jesus" miracle of transforming water into wine in ~ the marriage feast the Cana and the three temptations the Christ.

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Blue Virgin Window, Chartres Cathedral
Walwyn (CC BY-NC-SA)

The Incarnation Window

This home window is one of three lancet windows set above the royal Portal or West Porch of the cathedral. Date to the mid-12th century CE, it has actually 27 main panels which alternative scenes collection within a square or circle. The first (bottom) scenes display Christ"s birth and also the resulting the Magi and shepherds. There space striking scene of the Massacre that the Innocents bespeak by King Herod and also the fleeing that Mary, Joseph, and Jesus to Egypt. The bike ends with Jesus entering Jerusalem ~ above Palm Sunday.

The passion & Resurrection Window

This lancet window is beside the Incarnation window whose story the continues. It also dates come c. 1150 CE. The home window boasts 14 circular scenes from the last moments that Jesus Christ"s life such as the washing the the disciples" feet, the critical Supper, crucifixion, and also Resurrection. The lower left panel with a mandala and also shafts that light reveal an affect from oriental Art.


The young name Window

Dating come c. 1210 CE, this window, located instantly on the left ~ entering the royal Portal, has 42 panels which display scenes indigenous the noah story. Panels show pets arriving to be inserted on the Ark, the good Flood and also the Ark itself, right here represented with architectural features such as columns, capitals, and also arches in maintaining with its function as a symbol for the Church itself and its function as a saviour and place of refuge. In a further extension of the analogy, 6 panels display drowning people who represent shed souls on their means to Hell. One panel reflects Noah and also Saint Lubin, the 6th-century CE bishop that Chartres and patron saint that the regional innkeepers and wine sellers who were amongst the window"s donators, in addition to the city"s carpenters, coopers and also wheelwrights. The five lowest panels display scenes of this craftsmen at work.

The good Samaritan Window

With scenes from the parable of the great Samaritan, this window, located on the appropriate after start the imperial Portal, has 24 rigid panels, 10 completely decorative ones, and also 29 border panels. Theif are presented attacking a lone traveller, representative the humanity"s autumn from elegant and, just as Adam and Eve have to leave paradise (one panel is committed to the pair), so too the traveller pipeline Jerusalem and also immediately he must face the challenges of the world and sin (the robbers). The an excellent Samaritan who concerns the rescue represents Jesus, that takes the guy to an inn and also promises to go back to pay the bill, a reference to the 2nd Coming on Judgement Day.


The Zodiac Window

The Zodiac window, located just after the south Porch in the direction of the vestry, has farming scenes and also 12 indicators of the Zodiac to stand for Time, each labour being connected with the typical period of the year in i m sorry it was performed, because that example, Virgo (August-September) is beside wine pressing. January is represented with 3 heads, symbolic of the month extending the past year, the present and also the brand-new year.

The optimal panel shows Jesus Christ in between the Greek letters alpha and also omega, the very first and critical of that alphabet and also representing his function as the creator and also last judge of humanity. The home window was donated by counting Thibault through of Champagne on the inquiry of Thomas, counting of Perche. The last was killed at the fight of Lincoln in 1217 CE, therefore we recognize the window must have actually been made prior to that time.

The Charlemagne Window

Showing scene from the life of Charlemagne, divine Roman Emperor (r. 800-814 CE), this window, situated on the left next of the vestry between the apsidal chapels, was donated through the furriers the Chartres who show up in the reduced left panel. There room several battle scenes with knights in armour and one showing the emperor jousting. The enemy is the infidels the Moorish Spain, who have actually round shields together opposed to the kite-shaped persons of the west knights.

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Mark is a background writer based in Italy. His unique interests encompass pottery, architecture, people mythology and also discovering the principles that all civilizations share in common. He holds an MA in political Philosophy and is the publishing Director in ~ WHE.