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Stained glass research

Paris, cathédrale Notre-Dame, rose nord, mai 2021, étude des vitraux in situ par les chercheurs du Centre André Chastel. © Centre André Chastel.
Ange portant les armoiries royales, vers 1555, Vincennes, Sainte-Chapelle. Cliché de Michel Hérold

Research into stained glass at the Centre André-Chastel is carried out by permanent researchers, specialists in the field who work within the context of the Culture Ministry-CNRS Framework Agreement.

Their work is in line with several of the Centre's research themes:

The researchers' role is to provide expert advice on the knowledge, protection and conservation of stained glass heritage throughout France.They carry out surveys, in-depth research and case studies, and provide scientific advice.

They work in direct liaison with government departments, both at central administration level (Heritage Department, Inspection, Research and Innovation Delegation) and in decentralised departments (DRAC), contributing to the exercise of the State's scientific and technical control (Livre I and Livre VI of the Heritage Code), and with local authorities, in particular with departments dedicated to the General Inventory of Cultural Heritage.

Close links are established with specialist restoration workshops. Expertise is also applied to monitoring the art market and helping to control the circulation of cultural goods.

In a spirit of active multidisciplinarity, the researchers work on an ongoing basis with the stained glass section of Laboratoire de recherche des Monuments historiques (LRMH) on fundamental glass and paint analysis programmes. Together, they bring their complementary expertise to restoration projects.

Specialists in stained glass contribute to the training of heritage professionals (curators, architects, engineers, documentalists, etc.) and teach in their field of research within a network of laboratories, universities, CNRS research units, heritage departments and museum institutions.

Paris, cathédrale Notre-Dame, baie 2 : Alfred Gérente, vitrail marial, 1855.
Cliché ministère de la Culture, Inventaire général, Philippe Fortin

The Corpus Vitrearum

A research body dedicated to the study and conservation of stained glass, the French Committee of the Corpus Vitrearum is attached to the International Committee of the Corpus Vitrearum; it works under the patronage of the French Art History Committee and the International Academic Union. Ongoing exchanges with the committees of the fourteen member countries are fruitful, enriched by regular colloquia and technical forums. Common guidelines guide the work of publication. Research into stained glass and the Corpus vitrearum have a historic place at the Centre André-Chastel, the heir to the laboratories that have hosted them for decades.

Corpus Vitrearum International Committee website:

Researchers specialising in stained glass have completed the Old French Stained Glass Census and are continuing to publish in the Monographies and Studies collections. There are numerous publication projects, covering stained glass windows in churches in Paris, the cathedrals of Bourges and Reims, the Sainte-Chapelle in Vincennes, and more.

The wide range of research themes that have emerged as our work has progressed have contributed tirelessly to a more accurate assessment of the field - one of the finest expressions of monumental painting in northern countries, according to André Chastel - and to integrating it as closely as possible with art history, an objective recently extended to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Site of the French committee of the Corpus Vitrearum on current research into stained glass in France: :

  • Le verre des vitraux, programme de conférences 2022-2023. Retrouvez les enregistrements des conférences sur