Medallions. Miniatures on glass

The art of glass-making underwent major development in the Low Countries and the principality of Liège from the Renaissance. This artistic production included small panels of colourless glass that were decorated with paint. They were generally circular, hence their name ‘medallions’ or ‘roundels’. Little known in our artistic heritage, these medallions were very popular in all Europe starting in the 15th century. Their small size made them ideal for insertion in a window or stained glass.

The Museum of Art and History possesses a remarkable group of medallions and small panels dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. They are only part of a collection that also includes examples of entire monumental stained glass, single panels and fragments.

It is the largest public collection of stained glass in Belgium. From 2017 to 2021, it’s study formed the topic of a conservation-restoration, research and valorization project (Project FENESTRA), which made this presentation possible.

The Museum’s collection is the focus of the research project FENESTRA. The stained glass was systematically photographed, catalogued, cleaned and in some cases restored before being studied by the project’s partners: historians, archaeologists, art historians and engineers from the Museum of Art and History, the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Department of Applied Physics and Photonics, Brussels Photonics), with the collaboration of University College London and the Institut de Recherche sur les Archéomatériaux (Centre Ernest Babelon), Orléans.
This transdisciplinary approach has provided important data on the history of this collection and the technical and artistic development of painted glass since the Renaissance.

Exhibition 'Medallion' included in the ticket price for the Art & History Museum.