This is a roundel – a small round-shaped stained glass. Unlike a typical one, consisting of many colored pieces of glass connected by a lead frame, this one is painted in two colors on a transparent surface. Its size depended on the technical capabilities of the glazier – making a smooth, uniform round pane of glass was a challenge. Once it was made, the artist applied the drawing with dark paint on one side and then “baked” it again. The most difficult was the third stage, done from the other side with yellow paint, which during the next “firing” melted and combined with the glass. Only the most skilled craftsmen managed to keep it within the sketch, delineated by a dark drawing.

Abraham Sees Sodom in Flames, Dirck Vellert (workshop of), c. 1520 – c. 1525, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

When I look at this roundel I go shivers. Yellow tone perfectly captures the intensity of the flames that digest the city. This is the biblical Sodom, which Abraham watches from afar. Until now, he was hoping to save it from the God’s wrath. Unfortunately, the deeds of its inhabitants crossed out all chances of salvation. On both sides, in the background, two additional scenes of this story are placed – on the right, angels sent by God, talking to Lot (Abraham’s brother). On the left, Lot feasting with his daughters.

The artist in an exceptional way rendered details, using masterfully the possibilities of this difficult technique of decorating the glass.

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