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Heavenly illumination: The science and magic of stained glass | Andy Connelly | Science | guardian.co.uk

Stained glass window made by Stanisław Wyspiań...

Image via Wikipedia Church of St. Francis 1869 Krakow Poland

Heavenly illumination: The science and magic of stained glass | Andy Connelly | Science | guardian.co.uk.

via Heavenly illumination: The science and magic of stained glass | Andy Connelly | Science | guardian.co.uk.

I often find peacefulness in a soaring stone church, a cool open place to sit and contemplate. The giant trunk-like pillars and the gentle play of the light cast through the stained glass create a shaded garden of stone and multicoloured light.

Stained glass windows are never static. In the course of the day they are animated by changing light, their patterns wandering across the floor, inviting your thoughts to wander with them. They were essential to the fabric of ancient churches, illuminating the building and the people within, both literally and spiritually. Images and scenes leaded together into windows shed light on the central drama of Christian salvation. They allowed the light of God into the church.

The history of stained glass dates back to the middle ages and is an often underestimated technical and artistic achievement.

Glass itself is one of the fruits of the art of fire. It is a fusion of the Earth’s rocks: a mixture of sand (silicon oxide), soda (sodium oxide) and lime (calcium oxide) melted at high temperatures. Glass is an enabling material used for more than just drinking vessels and windows. It also allows scientists to observe distant stars and the smallest biological cells, and colourful chemical reactions in test tubes.

The history of glass

The earliest evidence of human interaction with glass was the discovery of flaked obsidian tools and arrow heads dating from more than 200,000 years ago. Obsidian is a volcanic glass formed when hot volcanic lava is rapidly cooled.

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October 31, 2010 - Posted by | cathedral, culture, global, history, photography, religion, social | ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] Heavenly illumination: The science and magic of stained glass | Andy Connelly | Science | guardian.c… (dmacc5022.wordpress.com) […]

    Pingback by Stained Glass | 1MereMortal | December 30, 2010 | Reply


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