The medieval era not only played a key role in architecture and sculpture, but it also played a primary role in the use of stained glass windows.


Medieval era borrowed the invention of stained glass from the Romanesque period. However, the stained glass windows in the Gothic medieval times were far bigger in size. The size in medieval era was made larger in order to let more light into the cathedrals and chapels. The stained glass windows in medieval times also used more yellows and white tones in the glass; in order to let more light penetrate through.

In the early period of medieval Gothic, the stained glass windows mainly depicted scenes of biblical references from both the old and new testaments. As time progressed, stained glass windows became far more intricate and detailed. The accomplishes in the detailing of stained glass gave way to showing scenes of every day life such as farming, working, and other daily routines (Hicks).


Due to the increase in size of the stained glass windows in medieval times, the style of presentation of the stained glass windows changed. Instead of a normal square based arrangement, the window was detailed with circular arrangements of contents. The circle arrangement of stained glass is referred to as a medallion window. The circular arrangement was set against an ornamental patterned ground. Later on a banded style of presentation would take over the medallion window arrangement (Kidson).


The techniques of creating stained glass stayed relatively the same as the Romanesque period. Pot metal glass remained the most common method of creating the glass. The main innovation of the medieval period is the silver stain method. The silver stain method consists of a silver compound solution that is painted on the glass and then fired. The result of the firing turned the white glass to yellow or turned blue glass green (Kidson).


Hicks, C. (n.d.). Stained glass. Retrieved from The Oxford Companion to Western Art. Ed. Hugh Brigstocke. Oxford Art Online.

Kidson, P., et al. (n.d.). Gothic. Retrieved from Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online.


Medallion Arrangement Stained Glass Window


Banded Arrangement Stained Glass Window