During the Romanesque Period (950-1250) architecture was pursued according to laws which had grown out of the achievements and experiences of earlier ages, and had reached such a perfection as entitled it to the rank of a noble art. But this was not true of painting, which was then but little more than the painting of the Egyptians had been, that is, a sort of picture-writing, which was principally used to illustrate the doctrines of religion, and by this means to teach them to peoples who had no books, and could not have read them had they existed.

During all this time the art of painting was largely under the control of the priests. Some artists were priests themselves, and those who were not were under the direction of some church dignitary. Popes, bishops, abbots, and so on, were the principal patrons of art, and they suggested to the artists the subjects to be painted, and then the pictures were used for the decoration of churches and other buildings used by the religious orders. The monks were largely occupied in miniature-painting; artists frequented the monasteries, and, indeed, when they were engaged upon religious subjects, they were frequently under the same discipline as that of the monks themselves.

Next to the influence of the church came that of the court; but in a way it was much the same, for the clergy had great influence at court, and, although painting was used to serve the luxury of sovereigns and nobles, it was also true that these high personages often employed artists to decorate chapels and to paint altar-pieces for churches at their expense, for during the Romanesque period there was some painting on panels. At first these panel-pictures were placed on the front of the altar where draperies had formerly been used: later they were raised above the altar, and also put in various parts of the church. The painting of the Romanesque period was merely a decline, and there can be little more said of it than is told by that one word.

Fig 21 Fig. 21.—King David. From a window in Augsburg Cathedral.

Glass-painting dates from this time. The very earliest specimens of which we know are from the eleventh century. Before that time there had been transparent mosaics made by putting together bits of colored glass, and arranging them in simple, set and ornamental patterns. Such mosaics date from the earliest days of Christianity, and were in use as soon as glass was used for windows. From ancient writings we know that some windows were made with pictures upon them as long ago as a.d. 989; but nothing now remains from that remote date.

There is a doubt as to whether glass-painting originated in France or Germany. Some French authors ascribe its invention to Germany, while some German writers accord the same honor to France. Remains of glass-painting of the eleventh century have been found in both these countries; but it is probable that five windows in the Cathedral of Augsburg date from 1065, and are a little older than any others of which we know. This picture of David is from one of them, and is probably as old as any painted window in existence.

Fig 22 Fig. 22.—Window. From the Cathedral of St. Denis.

The oldest glass-painting in France is probably a single fragment in the Cathedral of Le Mans. This cathedral was completed in 1093, but was badly burned in 1136, so that but a single piece of its windows remains; this has been inserted in a new window in the choir, and is thus preserved. With the beginning of the twelfth century, glass-painting became more frequent in Europe, and near the end of this century it was introduced into England, together with the Gothic style of architecture. Very soon a highly decorative effect was given to glass-painting, and the designs upon many windows were very much like those used in the miniatures of the same time. The stained glass in the Cathedral of St. Denis, near Paris, is very important. It dates from about 1140-1151, and was executed under the care of the famous Abbot Suger. He employed both French and German workmen, and decorated the entire length of the walls with painted windows. St. Denis was the first French cathedral in the full Gothic style of architecture. The present windows in St. Denis can scarcely be said to be the original ones, as the cathedral has suffered much from revolutions; but some of them have been restored as nearly as possible, and our illustration (Fig. 22) will give you a good idea of what its windows were.

The stripes which run across the ground in this window are red and blue, and the leaf border is in a light tone of color. There are nine medallions; the three upper ones have simply ornamental designs upon them, and the six lower ones have pictures of sacred subjects. The one given here is an Annunciation, in which the Abbot Suger kneels at the feet of the Virgin Mary. His figure interferes with the border of the medallion in a very unusual manner.