The XIIIth century stained glass windows are fascinating for several reasons.

We first see an exemplary synthesis of the Christian faith, as it was then deceloped by the canons.

The stained glass windows are used to teach the faithful, exposing certain edifying pages of the Bible or telling the life of holy saints who cannot be prayed to enough – true models of a fervent and committed spirituality. We are right to say that the stained glass resembles religious textbooks intended for the illiterate.

Often, the theological and moral reflection of the Chartres scholars gives them a deeper meaning than the first impression gives, opening up the expression of Christian ‘fundamentals’: Christian dogma and human approaches.

Finally, the stained glass accompanies the liturgy: during the Mass, the spirit of the 13th century aids in imagining each figure of the holy history ‘answering’ by its presence to the invocation of the celebrant.


The stained glass windows hold a primordial interest for the knowledge of medieval history.

Chartres remains one of the largest ‘photo libraries’ that one can imagine to describe this certain period of change. All of society is at work: the clerics are busy in divine worship, the knights are fighting in fierce combat, the artisans are going about their daily business.

We stage the essential stages of existence (birth, marriage, death) or the emotions of the characters (pity, anger, affection).

Specialists focus on the details of the animals, furniture or buildings that serve as the background to the story.


The stained glass remains a delight for the eye and the soul, as the colors vibrate and radiate this light from outside to illuminate the heart of the viewer.

This ‘mystic’ stained glass is described around 1200, in the ‘Manuale de Mysteriis Ecclesie’ by Pierre de Roissy, chancellor of the cathedral chapter.