Local Heart, Global Soul

August 28, 2015

Raising My Eyes To The Stained Glass Again…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m finishing my tour of the Basilica of Saint Servatius in Maastricht.

As my regular readers will know, I love stained glass, so a Basilica full of the stuff is like an intoxicating drug.

There are roundels of celtic-like interwoven floral designs, heraldic shields and crests, stunning black glass painted background motifs that connect the larger coloured pieces and large stand out central panels which are round or semicircular in most cases, surrounded by detailed backgrounds.

I do laugh though, both of the heraldic lions that stand either side of a shield have remarkably human faces, probably because in all likelyhood the glass artist had never seen a lion in real life so made do as best he could.

There is also real artistry in the intricate painted letters on the glass, the charactors are more uniform than I would have imagined possible. If you contrast this to the lettering in the coat of arms panel with crowned lions and a large crown right next to it, which I think is supposed to have some sort of royal connection, since the “je maintaineri “ (“I shall maintain”) motto which is still on the Dutch royal family coat of arms appears almost clumsy by comparison.

Of course it was usual for there to be a whole team of glass artists working on a single window at one time so probably these lettering examples were made by different people.

If you are wondering why the words are written in French rather than in Dutch is it probably because French was the official language of The Netherlands for some three hundred years when France ruled over a considerably larger land area than it does today.

In the bottom of one of the figure panels where two (priests ?) are kneeling, a little read book lays in the green grass, the book is tiny in the figure photograph but I managed to get a detailed close up of it at the top of the panels in the second from bottom row of glass in the big window. Even such a tiny book has detail on the clasp, and it’s this possibility to look at a window like this a hundred times and discover something new each time that so fascinates me.

Lastly there are some very modern windows, I personally like them a bit less than the more traditional glass, but fully appreciate the amount of work and skill needed to make them. They have very dramatic colour and movement that isn’t really possible in the old style and are beautiful in their own way.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

st Servatius stained glass 2 (Small)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 Basilica of Saint Servatius / Maastricht

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