Stained Glass

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Almost two millennia ago in ancient Rome, artisans started using stained glass to activate religious and secular spaces with the power of colored light. During the Middle Ages, the stained glass window became the driving force for architectural advancement, with pointed arches, rib vaults, and flying buttresses being invented in order to increase the size and number of a cathedral’s stained glass windows. These windows depicted [scenes from the Bible with a clarity of design that was legible from afar and illuminated from behind, bathing otherwise dark church interiors with a warm, almost heavenly light. For most of its history, stained glass was created by heating a mixture of sand and potash to 3000°F, while adding metallic oxide powders to provide the color. In the late 19th century, Louis Comfort Tiffany, of Tiffany Studios, developed a new method of glassmaking that resulted in opalescent glass, helping to popularize the technique for secular design and home furnishing. Today, artists like Kehinde Wiley and Dorian Gaudin have leveraged the religious associations of stained glass in their works, underscoring their depictions of everyday people and objects with the grandeur of this storied and historic medium.

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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019