As the juniors are working through the history of the Middle Ages, they are also exploring the beauty of the art from this period in their weekly art class. During the transitional period following the fall of Rome, art became increasingly Christian. The church embraced art as a tool for promoting religion and guiding the faithful in worship and doctrine, usually through visual elements in the new cathedrals.
One of those elements was stained glass. Saints from the Bible and early church history were depicted in brightly colored windows. This created a sense of their spiritual presence with believers. It was as though the living were worshipping alongside the faithful departed.
In stained glass and just about any other medium, symbolism was a pervasive component in medieval art. The various symbols served to communicate profound truths about the Christian faith without reliance on text. In a largely illiterate culture, this was a crucial form of teaching and encouragement.
The junior class explored both of these aspects of medieval art in our current unit. They worked with fragments of colored glass to create images that possessed some symbolic importance for the Christian faith. Glass-cutting tools were used to shape pieces for a design. These pieces were then secured to a base with glue and then grouted. These luminous miniature windows serve as a reminder that our faith is built on the rich Christian heritage that has been passed down to us from our brothers and sisters who lived in the Middle Ages.