Een Nederlands gebrandschilderd glas in de Heilig Bloedkerk te Wilsnack (Duitsland)
Although in the Netherlands medieval stained glass windows only have been preserved fragmentarily sources like the accounts of the Lords of Voorne prove that the Dutch art of glass painting was very prosperous already in the beginning of the 15th century.
The window Lord Frank van Borselen in 1460 gave to the H. Blood Church at Wilsnack (Brandenburg) had ninety-four panels of which eighty were painted. The miracle of the H. Blood would have taken place in 1383. Three consecrated wafers on the altar of the Church of St. Nicholas came to no harm of the fire, which completely burnt down the old Church of St. Nicholas. Moreover, a drop of blood, self-evidently coming from the wounds of Christ glittered on every host.
In 1384 the miracle was confirmed by the church officially. The Church was rebuilt as an enormous cross-basilica and Wilsnack turned into an important place of pilgrimage. The revenues of pilgrimage to Wilsnack for penance and for cure of diseases soon exceeded the needs of church and village. The pilgrimages became a commercial affair for the diocese of Havelberg. Therefore the diocesan synod of Prague prohibited pilgrimage to Wilsnack. Pilgrimages however held out till the Reformation, in the Netherlands mainly for committed crimes.
In the Church of St. Nicholas at Wilsnack still some fragments of 15th century windows have been preserved in the choir and in the northern cross-aisle. Twenty-six panels of the Dutch Wilsnack stained-glass window (painted by glazier Zweer van Opbueren Wesselsz. in The Hague) were placed in the window of the northern cross-aisle at the restoration of 1886-'87.
The rendering of the representation is very graphic and contrasts sharply with the representations of the surrounding German panels. The quality of the French imported glass still is excellent as opposed to the German fabricated panels. This way the stained-glass window at Wilsnack differs from contemporary products from other European regions and demonstrates the existence of an important Dutch art of stained glass in medieval times. The graphic rendering of ornaments and figures corresponds with 16th century Dutch stained-glass windows of which some examples have been preserved in the Church of St. John at Gouda.
Copyright (c) 1992 Herman Janse
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