In Europe, the European art of stained glass came together with the culture of Catholic Europe. Therefore, most of the authentic historical stained glass windows are located in Western Ukraine, which for a long time was part of the European states – the Commonwealth and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Already in 1259, the record in the Galician-Volyn chronicle tells us that King Danylo Halytsky built the Church of St. John Zlatovusta in Chelm (Kholmi) and decorated its windows with “Roman glass”, that is, stained glass windows.
If you return to the appearance of a stained glass in Ukraine, then mention of it has been since the time of Kievan Rus. A mention of the churches of Holma, Galich, Przemysl. In the period of the XVIII-XIX centuries. the presence of stained glass workshops in Ukraine is confirmed by the presence of museum exhibits. In general, the first mention of the manufacture of window glass dates back to 1565.
During archaeological excavations near the ancient Galich archaeologists were lucky to find the remains of stained glass windows in the ruins of a church built in the 13th century. This temple was located in the Danish-based Galician city of Kholm (present-day Polish Helm, and then – the center of the Kholm Rus).
In the XVII century, workshops for the production of glass – gut – became famous Chernihiv region. There they numbered more than a hundred, and produced in a gut leaf glass, whose ingredients – soda, chalk and sand – are known to every student.
Renowned art historian Henri de Moran believes that before the Reformation the most insidious enemies of the stained glass were people who always forgot that the beautiful painting on the glass was created by them in the curriculum: the value of the depicted scenes was always clear, moreover, often provided with explanatory inscriptions. And still stained glass was created to gladden the look of a quirky game of light flowing through multi-colored glass.
It seemed easier: the sections of colored pebbles, connect them with the help of lead, got to the window hole and radiant life. But stained glass, like any art, has not only its own history, but its secrets.
In 1071, in Montecasin’s monastery, the stained glass technology was enriched with an important novelty that has survived to this day. Wooden frames, in which the glass was mounted, was replaced with lead fittings, which allowed a greater variety of contours and sizes of the picture.
The German monk Theophilus in “Treatise on the various crafts” described the method of manufacturing stained glass windows consisting of two parts of beech ash and one part of well-washed sand. In the XII century, ash ferns were used. Even then, in the palette, the masters were blue, red, green, purple and yellow.
Artistic peculiarities of the Ukrainian glass of the 16th and 17th centuries, undoubtedly, depended on the European tendencies of the development of this branch. In place of Venetian glassworks, fashion designers became masters of Bohemia and Germany. However, the products of Ukrainian cells differ from West European products with a special restrained figurative solution, original national treasures.
The colorful scale of Ukrainian glass created colored masses, in particular so-called colors of white and green water, golden yellow and yellow-green, various violet and brown shades up to black.
The activity of the gut (1550-1570 gg.) In the vicinity of Old Galich, Belza and Potalech was documented in the western Ukrainian lands, and at the beginning of the 17th century. in the village of Pidhirtsi in the Lviv region. From the middle of the 17th century. There were about twenty gut in the territory of Kyiv region, Poltava region, Chernihiv region and three gutes in Transcarpathia. In the largest part of the guberniya – in the Chernihiv region – more than one hundred twenty glass workshops worked. From the beginning it was a small manufactory, and only in the next century there was a noticeable tendency towards their increase. For centuries, the Ukrainian stained glass has a permanent connection with the traditions of the past, reflecting the socio-economic and cultural changes that have taken place in the life of the people in the process of its historical development.
In the architecture of Lviv, as well as in the whole of Ukraine, the desire to create a new style is noticeable only in the early 20th century. In Lviv, this style had the Viennese color of the so-called secession, the signs of which were most of the houses of this time. The magnificent flourish acquired stylizational and functional trends, on the windows – characteristic secession elements.
Among the representatives of the Ukrainian Art Nouveau – well-known architects – T. Obminskaya, A. Zakharevich,
O. Lushpinskaya, V. Sadlovskaya, E. Chervinsky, M. Ulyam, F. Levytskyi. The initiator of linking the modernist principles with the forms of Ukrainian folk architecture was the architect I. Levinsky, who introduced folk ornamentation in the decorative facade of the facades, mainly the Hutsul
Some stained glass artists of this time in Europe and in Ukraine began to experiment with a versatile transparent, colorless glass. An example of this type of stained glass can be seen in Lviv in the premises of the Office of Internal Affairs, executed in 1910. Stained glass cloths, made of pieces of transparent interiors glass, graceful and polished, with its dry graphicity correspond to the architectural restraint of the building – molded wall decor, a pattern of forged balustrades. Do not argue with a view from the window. Despite the set of expressive means, stained glass has no analogues among the samples of Lviv stained glass art.
In this way, you can see that by the beginning of 1920 there were two ways of development – conservative and progressive. At the same time, within the framework of both trends, regional tendencies and characteristic traditions of art took place.
A separate page in the development of stained glass production in Ukraine is 60-80 years. Stained-glass art began to be used more often in interiors. A characteristic feature of time was the monumentality and a rather narrow thematic spectrum. The artists were subjected to various harassment, constant imposing of the themes, various prohibitions did not open to many artists and window dressers. However, some progress has also been made in the area of stained glass. It’s all about the new features and discoveries in technology. We began to create new, for this time, stained volumetric-spatial compositions, using a variety of masonry and glass molding techniques. Stainers reached the volume in their product, and the work could already be considered as a kind of sculptural work.
In the works of artists who worked in the architecture of 60-70 years one can notice two extreme tendencies that sometimes change each other, and sometimes they exist simultaneously. One of them is that the artist, creating his work, obeys the style of such an architectural object, wants to dissolve it, sing in unison with any architecture.
Particular attention should be paid to our Ukrainian artist-window dresser V. Zadorozhnyi. Its stained-glass walls, canvases, imbued with deep national color and traditions, can not but attract attention. Applying a restrained small palette, which consisted mainly of the main colors – blue and red, with the inclusions of white and yellow, his works “Our song, our glory” in the Kremenchug House of Culture (1072) and “Necklace” in the House of Culture with. Kalita (1975), reminding of a light openwork lace, contains a large thematic load, created on the basis of local traditions, deeply permeated with the spirit and symbols of Ukraine.
Many artists-stained-glass artists embody their new ideas and designs. Among them is Valerii Shalenko’s figure, originally from Sokal. The artist studied at the Lviv Institute of Decorative and Applied Arts at the Department of Glass, and at the end of my studies I was fond of stained glass, as art is not so common in Lviv and in general in Ukraine, as it would be desirable. His works feature interesting topics and an extraordinary approach.
One can conclude that the stained glass art in Ukraine was a difficult path, but developed and was a widespread form of art.
Stained-glass art conveys a permanent connection with the past, traditions, symbols, changes that have taken place in the life of society and culture. Now the stained glass art is not widespread, but it needs to be developed as a separate type of art, which though has a complex technological process of manufacturing and at the same time fascinated by its transparency of life.