Germany and France Interim

ART 397: The Sacred in Stained Glass Art - History and Practice

January 2015

Course Foundation:
  • This course provides students the extraordinary opportunity to study the history and contemporary studio practices of stained glass art in Germany and France.
  • The alchemy of fire fusing molten silica with metallic salts, oxides and pigments produces translucent hues of color and opalescent glints of material so beautiful, oceanic and sublime that stained glass has stood at the heart of what is transcendent and numinous in Western civilization for over 1,000 years.
  • Knowledge of the history and practice of this art is fundamental to understanding color, light, and space.
  • Working with glass will be transformative in your development and personal vision as an artist and essential to understanding the question of beauty in Western religion and philosophy.


Course Description:
  • This is a hands-on studio art course in stained glass. Augustana students have the unique opportunity to travel to Germany to create stained glass works of art at the world-renowned Derix Glasstudios.
  • Students participate in on-site field research and creative projects, focusing on architectural art glass and design.
  • Topics of study include glass, art, aesthetics and the sacred. The first part of the course involves preliminary research and design work on campus.
  • During the second half of the course in Germany, students will create their own stained glass panels at one of the most prestigious glass studios in the world.
  • Highlights include visits to two UNESCO World Heritage sites in France and Germany: Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-Staßbourg and the Cologne Cathedral, and an overnight stay at a Cistercian abbey founded in the 12th century. 
  • Coursework combines studio practices with selected readings, lectures, demonstrations and site visits to museums, galleries, artists’ studios, cathedrals and other glass sites.
  • We will visit the following ciites in Germany: Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, Taunusstein, Waldsassen, Helmstadt, Schweinfurt, Aschaffenburg, Langen, Kalkar, Cologne, and Heidelberg. In France, we will visit Metz, Straßbourg, and Colmar.

Stained glass 2

Course Objectives:

The purpose of this course is to provide a set of intrinsic experiences in stained glass art.
At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Pursue commissioned work in architectural art glass and ecclesiastical art.
  • Incorporate a number of art glass techniques into your own studio practice including: silver-stain, vitreous enamels, lead came, etching, airbrush, screenprinting, lamination and slump molding.
  • Expand your understanding of art and your own point in time on a continuum of human experience.
  • Cultivate a passion for seeing.
  • Discuss the development of stained glass techniques and iconography in European art history from the Middle Ages to the present.
  • Relate the role of light in Gothic architecture to the ideal of beauty in the Middle Ages and Thomas Aquinas.
  • Understand the visible world through the elements of art and principles of visual design.
  • Identify the differences between symbolic, representational and abstract form and meaning.
  • Realize a basis for all future study of art and its relationship to human consciousness and the sacred.

Girl works on a stained glass window.


Week 1: Augustana Campus
  • Stained Glass - history and practice.
  • Design development.
  • Gloria Dei.

Bridge over river.

Week 2: France and Germany
  • Glashütte Lamberts, cylinder glass-making techniques developed in the 11th century in Germany.
  • Johannes Schreiter Museum and visit to his studio, Langen, Germany.
  •  Altarpiece, Colmar; Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-Strasbourg.
  • Derix Glass Art Projects in Cologne: Cathedral (Gerhard Richter)—south wall, the most significant and widely-recognized contemporary glass art installation in the world, 11,500 panes in 2007); St. Andreas Church (Prof. Dr. Markus Lüpertz); Nikolai Church, Kalkar (Karl Martin Hartmann—an amazingly detailed project of approximately 1,600 pieces per every 10 square feet).
  • Arch. Böhm designed churches St. Gereon, St. Agnes, St. Theodor.
  • Heidelberg Cathedral.
  • Metz Cathedral and Center Pompidou Metz
  • Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-Staßbourg
  • Grunewald Altarpiece, Colmar.

Week 3: Germany
  • Derix Glasstudios, Taunusstein - Production week.

Stained glass 3.

Your grade will be calculated as follows:
  • Readings: (10%)

Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages by Umberto Eco, Yale University Press, 2002.

Journals must make five specific references quoting the above readings to receive credit.

  • Stained Glass: (70%)

Design a full-scale cartoon at Augustana and create a one-meter square stained glass panel during our stay at the Derix Glasstudio in Taunusstein, Germany. Work will be evaluated by the formal elements of art and principles of design. Glass panels will be shipped back to Augustana.

Man working on stained glass.

  • Field Journal: (10%)

Moleskine Athina City Notebook, or a similarly-sized journal. No lines is preferred.

Produce a descriptive, contemplative, and well-structured image/word-based field journal of European visual culture and experience, to be due at the end of the course. You will be evaluated on your capacity to formally synthesize and evaluate your experience in France and Germany. The primary form of this journal will combine image collection, creation, reproduction, and narrative texts to produce a document of personal significance and recordation of your experience while in France and Germany. You will be asked to create, compose, editorialize, articulate and assess your understanding and experience of European stained glass and art history. This will involve both creative writing and field sketching for all participants. Research topics may be assigned.

  • Participation: (10%)

An engaged “presence” (beyond mere attendance), completing all required readings and active participation in all guided visits, studio demonstrations and discussions, both formal and informal. One hundred percent attendance is required for events described on the itinerary. 

Faculty Background:

Scott Parsons has worked in the field of public art for 20+ years. He has produced more than 40 stained glass windows in collaboration with Derix Glasstudios in Taunusstein, Germany. Scott has received numerous percent-for-art and private commissions for churches, airports, museums, research facilities, university buildings and transportation centers across the United States and Canada. His glass work has received two Faith & Form / AIA International Forum for Religious Art and Architecture (IFRAA) Awards. Scott's work is reviewed in Art in America, Sculpture, Architectural Record, Stained Glass Quarterly and Public Art Review. More at

European town.


Foreign Language Requirements:

  • None. Course content presented in English or English translation provided.


  • Consent of Professor
  • Completed one or more of the following courses: ART 101 Drawing, ART 120 Design, ART 140 Painting, ART 160 Printmaking.


  • Available in April 2014. Cost of this course in 2012 was $5500.
  • All study abroad programs are assessed an IPO Administrative fee of $150.

Application Deadline: