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Stained glass and glass objects

Glass painting was primarily an art of the Middle Ages and the 19th century, but it also experienced high points of a different character in the 16th and - apart from the stragglers of historicizing styles and commercial exports to the New World - in the first quarter and then again since the 1950s Years of the 20th century. The demands on the restorer do not end at a certain time threshold, but extend to modern artistic works.

In connection with the design intentions of the individual epochs, the characteristics of the materials and the artistic techniques are very different. The behavior of the works - especially the glasses - as well as the conservation and restoration tasks are correspondingly different. Medieval panes up to around 1470 are consistently affected by glass corrosion; glass paintings from the 16th to 19th centuries, up to around 1870/80, have their main damage areas in the designed surface. In the case of the later objects, the constructive elements predominate again. The tasks of the future are increasingly the complicated damage developments on glazing of the 19th and early 20th centuries, which represent the largest group of monuments.

In contrast to the assessment in the 19th century and largely until the last few decades, glass painting is no longer valued as handicrafts and crafts, but as an art form of similar importance to sculpture and painting. Artistic research - from individual studies to the work of the Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi - has shown the way. Research into conservation technology followed. The practical maintenance and restoration of the works, however, remained largely handcraft-oriented due to the traditionally prescribed workshop structures and above all because there was no restoration training in this area. Approaches to real restoration methodology were sought in only a very few workshops.

The University of Applied Sciences Erfurt was the first German university to set up this subject in 1996 and is the only training facility in Germany in this specialization. Previous teaching is an advantage, but not a prerequisite for the course.

The realization that painting on glass had a much more differentiated development than the preservation and craftsmanship was generally aware of, largely determines the content of the course today. A great deal of emphasis is placed on the painting techniques, on the examination of the findings with the investigation of the causes of damage processes and on the conservation concepts, processes and technologies to be developed from them. The teaching is based on the results of the major research projects of recent years - the German Federal Environmental Foundation in Osnabrück (DBU), the Federal Institute for Materials Testing in Berlin (BAM), the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research (ISC) in Würzburg / Bronnbach, the laboratories of Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation in Munich and foreign institutions - a.

The level of development of cleaning and consolidation processes is now at a comparatively high level (chemical and mechanical processes). In practice, however, the definitions of what needs to be cleaned and strengthened and the practical implementation according to restoration standards are deficient.

The theory and practice of the training therefore encompass the two aspects relevant to the profession in its entire breadth of application: the materials as well as their structural functions and connection techniques on the one hand and the designed surfaces on the other. The historical painting techniques are practiced in order to assess the original paintings, their structure and condition during the examination.

The curriculum includes: technology and methods of preservation of the various types of glasses, as well as strengthening, cleaning, preventive measures, and technical and aesthetic alternatives to supplementation. Other important components of the course are the preparation of documentation and the teaching of the art and style history of glass painting.

The course integrates the edge areas belonging to architecture-related glazing: the construction, the protective glazing systems (prophylaxis to limit damage) with the important aspects of climatology and climate measurement as well as the aesthetic aspects. Like other works of art, glass paintings are to be seen as a whole: construction, artistic design and aesthetics are a unit. Therefore, the material and structural components require the same restoration attention as the designed surface.

The major in stained glass and objects made of glass is superbly equipped with everything that is required and, thanks to close contact with the preservation of monuments, works largely on originals, develops concepts for upcoming conservation projects and carries out exemplary measures.

Some time ago, the training was expanded to include hollow glass, ceramics, enamel and mosaic (as an independent focus).

In general, there are good career opportunities for graduates of the field of study. Academically trained restorers with a Bachelor's and Master's degree are sought after by glass painting workshops, official workshops for monument preservation and museums. Freelance work, increasingly in the form of restoration associations, also offers good opportunities.

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