Immediate in its lucent, chromatic beauty, stained glass has a 1,000-year history as a public artistic medium, which Raguin, a curator and author thoroughly steeped in vitreous panes, covers in this survey. Equal to its subject, her work compels visual lingering among the hundreds of color images whose explicit meaning is described in the text. Though seemingly static in its recurring depictions of biblical imagery, stained glass, like any art form, has experienced evolutions in taste, which Raguin chronicles from its efflorescence in Gothic cathedrals to its major revivals in the nineteenth-century's romantic and, later, arts-and-crafts movements. Expensive in every era, stained glass, Raguin writes, reveals donors' beliefs about "the value of art to society." Whether inculcating religion, propagandizing the donor's status or virtues, or, in modern times, reaching for purely aesthetic effects, stained glass is revealed as surprisingly versatile despite the fact that its fabricating technique is unchanged since it was first installed at Chartres Cathedral. With its gorgeously shimmering illustrations, Raguin's presentation will enhance any art history collection. Gilbert TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Virginia Chieffo Raguin has published widely on stained glass and architecture; her books include Stained Glass in Thirteenth-Century Burgundy
and Artistic Integration in Gothic Buildings
. Raguin has also curated several exhibitions, including Glory in Glass: Stained Glass in the United States and Testimony of Light: American Stained Glass and Architecture in the 20th Century.