Panel depicting the top of a canopy. Made in Germany (Cologne), ca. 1300-25.
This panel is the upper part of an architectural canopy. Originally, it would have been located at the upper part of a window with a figure displayed below. The style and choice of colours strongly suggest that it was made in the Cologne area of Germany. In the 12th and 13th centuries, cathedrals and churches often had large narrative schemes of stained-glass windows. Whole windows would be devoted to events associated with the lives of various saints or of Christ and the Virgin Mary. The events were often told in quite small medallions placed one above the other in each of the window openings ('lights'). These could be difficult to 'read' because they were small and high up. In about 1240 window openings began to get bigger and stained-glass designers started to devise schemes that moved away from the small story-telling medallions. They exploited the bigger window opening and filled it with large images of figures underneath elaborate canopy forms. This type of display in glass was similar to the array of sculptured figures you might see on the west fronts of great churches and on choir screens in the interiors.
Location: Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, room 84, case BAY1