ROMANESQUE GLASS PAINTER, French
(active c. 1145)

Tree of Jesse

c. 1145
Stained glass window
Abbey Church, Saint-Denis

The earliest stained glass to survive from the Ile-de-France comes from Abbot Suger's redecoration of the east end of the Abbey of Saint-Denis. Its windows were constructed between 1140 and 1144. They consist of a series of medallions and half-medallions, with deep blue backgrounds; the foreground is occupied by crowded figurative scenes. This format is similar to that of contemporary enamel-work from the Mosan region.

The imagery of the Tree of Jesse was based on a prophecy of Isaiah: "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse." It used to be thought that it was first devised by Abbot Suger of St Denis, but earlier examples have been found.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 3 minutes):
Guiraud de Bornelh: Reis Glorios