Exhibition of stained-glass windows by West European masters in the Hermitage

"What a Wonderful Inflorescence" exhibition, featuring stained-glass windows and drawings by Western European masters of the 15th - 17th centuries, opened at the State Hermitage on Wednesday.

The exposition presents some 20 drawings, which helped masters to create stained-glass windows, said Aleksei Larionov, a senior official of the Hermitage's Western European art department. Famous artists often received orders to draw sketches of stained-glass windows. The exposition features drawings by Albrecht Durer, Peter Coecke van Alest and Jost Amman.

In addition, there are 32 stained-glass windows, created by German, French, Dutch and Swiss masters. These exhibits are the so-called "cabinet" stained-glass windows, which decorated city halls, guilds and private houses, Larionov said. They differ from church windows both by size and subjects. Swiss stained-glass windows, which are often called heraldic, usually depicted the emblems of customers or owners.

The State Hermitage's collection of cabinet stained-class windows was brought to Russia under Nicholas I. Originally, it was kept in the arsenal of Tsarskoye Selo (the tsar's summer residence), and in the 1880s it was taken to the Hermitage.

Nowadays, the museum's collection boasts some 300 stained-glass windows. "What a Wonderful Inflorescence" temporary exposition is one of the first exhibitions of the unique collection.

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