Glass panels: History of the collection

The collection of the 16th-19th centuries stained glass panels was formed in the 1920s when several nationalized pre-revolutionary private collections became a part of the museum. The most important among them is the collection of stained glass of Dmitriy Schukin (1855–1932), a well-known Moscow collector of paintings and graphics by old masters and applied arts.

However, the majority of the painted glass panels of the 16th-17th centuries come from unknown collections. Due to the absence of archival documents mentioning the names of their previous owners, it is extremely difficult to establish the origin of those panels.

The small-format stained glass panels were typical for the art industry of the Renaissance and Mannerism. For a long time in the scientific literature, it was referred to as «cabinet glass», because along with painting and small scale sculpture it took a special place in so-called art cabinets. This type of stained glass art, as well as monumental stained glass intended for the decoration of cathedrals, became widespread in Holland, the lands of Southern Germany and the old cantons of Switzerland.

The collection is fairly uniform in composition and includes Dutch, German and Swiss painted glass panels with images of coats of arms and figurative scenes of religious and secular content. They were intended as donative decorations for private homes, small chapels, prayer houses of various religious brotherhoods and public buildings, where the city councils and courts, crafts and art workshops were located.

After the events of the Reformation of the first third of the 16th century in the cities of the German Lands and the Swiss Union, which were particularly intolerant to religious art, the small-format stained glass panels, along with drawings, book illustrations and portraits, took the leading place in the hierarchy of the visual arts.

In general, the collection of the 16th-19th century Western European stained glass from The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts has considerable diversity and is able to give a fairly complete understanding of the phenomenon of the small-format stained glass panels on its heyday.