Chagall stained glass windows : themes and techniques
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The choir stained glass window in Le Saillant chapel, called The 4 elements, symbolizes the creation of the world. The intense blue colour, shaded by white gradation is created by pouring acid on white glass that is plated with blue. It represents both water and air. Red triangles symbolise the earth and the green vegetation is veined with white grisaille trails : a dark type of painting that requires baking to set correctly. A white bird symbolises the Holy Spirit. The bird is depicted floating above the original world into a ray of sun, which symbolizes fire and divine light.

Two faces are depicted in a quadrilobe, among other shapes. They are the faces of Isabelle and Guy de Lasteyrie du Saillant, who ordered the stained glass masterpiece.

The stained glass used for the four lateral windows is barely stained, and their pattern is painted using the grisaille technique, deepened by yellow and silver touches. The choice of light colours brings light to a blind wall. The theme of these glass walls is agriculture, echoing the surrounding countryside with a religious overtone.

The stained glass window closest to the choir depicts a farmer harvesting his crops. He is accompanied by his wife and child, in a field, with a bird flying ahead.

The next one shows a shepherd, raising his stick in the air and guiding his herd of sheep.

The third stained glass window shows a grape-harvesting scene, under the hot sun.

The last one depicts a fisherman pulling his fish-filled net out of the water. Two birds are flying above him.

The oculus above the door is the same colour as the choir’s stained glass window, with two bouquets of flowers and a cockerel greeting the rising sun.

On all of the windows, the impression of movement is reinforced by the lead design that separates the pieces of glass with a network of curved lines. Master glassworker Charles Marq interpreted Chagall’s work quite remarkably.

Etapes suivantes

Allassac, Saint-Viance, Voutezac

Chagall stained glass windows : themes and techniques


Now that you are aware of the context in which they were created, you are ready to find out the meaning of these stained-glass windows by Marc Chagall, as well as the technical secrets involved. This video is quite detailed and shows elements which are not visible, unless pointed out.

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