Cinema Before 1300
More than eight hundred years ago, a confluence of technological, philosophical, and financial upswellings converged to create the most advanced form of mass media the world had known: stained glass. Built en masse across France, Spain, England, and Germany, great cathedrals were designed to display giant windows that told stories through light, color, and form. Every day, thousands of viewers arrived to marvel at the glorious colors and hear stories recounted beneath their realization in light. Modern visitors to a cathedral would probably not suspect how many activities took place in these buildings during medieval times. They were truly community centers, and community members had the right to be there because they all took a great part in the construction of the buildings. This program looks at the first one hundred years (or so) of stained glass’s magnificent birth and culmination. It was during this fortuitous time frame that the most care, effort, and expense were applied to the new art. By a sad irony, technological innovations making glass more uniform and the tasks of the craft easier destroyed visual interest and soon degenerated the art altogether.