The medieval glass paintings of Stadtprozelten, the oldest still-existing glass paintings in all of Lower Franconia

The position in Lower Franconia

Why are the glass paintings of Stadtprozelten something special?

According to the current state of research, these seem to be the oldest still-existing glass paintings in all of Lower Franconia.

The panes are exquisitely preserved. One can document just a very few supplements (some of which also originated in the Middle Ages). The panes have also kept their original, medieval lead netting, which is very rare.

The interior of the church with the window at the crown of the choir loft
The interior of the church with the window at the crown of the choir loft
Overview of the medieval glass paintings in Lower Franconia (in situ)
Overview of the medieval glass paintings in Lower Franconia (in situ)
  • Arnstein 1480 - 1513 Pilgrimage church Maria Sondheim 27 GM, coats of arms, patrons, various saints and scenes from the life of Christ
  • Bad Neustadt 16th century Catholic Schloßkapelle 4 GM, angel holding a coat of arms, The Last Supper
  • Ebern 1520 Catholic parish church St. Georg and Vitus 1 GM Madonna im Strahlenkranz
  • Eckartshausen 1500 Catholic subsidiary church Mariae Heimsuchung 1 GM coat of arms pane, Fragmente
  • Enheim 15th century Lutheran parish church 2 GM Kreuzigung, Madonna
  • Gerolzhofen 1450 Catholic local parish church St. Maria de Rosario 4 GM angle with coat of arms, Madonna in a wreath of sunlight
  • Iphofen 1425 - 1430 Catholic local parish church St. Veit 68 GM Scenes from the life of St. Sebaldus and Veit Irmelshausen 1530 Lutheran parish church 1 GM Kreuzigung
  • Klingenberg ?
  • Mespelbrunn 15. - 16th century Catholic Schloßkapelle 5 GM div. Heilige and Himmelfahrt Christi
  • Münnerstadt 1410 - 1420 Catholic local parish church St. Magdalena 270 GM, comprehensive portrayals
  • Oberbessenbach 1470 old parish church 2 GM Maria and St. Ottilia
  • Stadtprozelten 1325 - 1350 Catholic parish church Maria Himmelfahrt 7 GM ornaments
  • Volkach 1470 - 1480 Maria in the Vineyard 6 GM Ritter, Maria, Crucifixion
  • Wässerndorf 1530 Catholic subsidiary church St. Cyriakus 1 GM St. Cyriakus

Source: ""Materials 2/84"" Effects of air pollution on selected works of art - medieval glass painting UBA, partially with own supplements; likewise the map. ? = town indicated on the map - however, not in the listing


The Background

The dating concluded by older research – the early 15th century - can probably be viewed as obsolete.

The relevant comparison examples – primarily the glazing of the former collegiate church St. Bartholomäus (""Dom"") in Frankfurt am Main, were built between approx. 1300 and 1350; therefore, also for Stadtprozelten, one can reckon with its emergence in the 14th century.

Conceivable in this context would be a date near 1325-1350, which would have been the possible duration of the construction of the choir loft.

An exact analysis based on construction history which could back up this possible date of building has yet to be performed.

A glass-painting studio in the Central Rhine region most probably performed this work.


The following evidence backs up this hypothesis:

  • The stylistically very similar Frankfurt panes
  • The general fact that in numerous locations along the course of the Main, there are medieval works of art which are"mittelrheinisch"embossed.
  • In this case, one could even consider that these were created by those glass painters who also worked on the Frankfurt cathedral.
  • The referral of glass painters based in Mainz or Frankfurt could have taken place via the Deutschordenskommende Sachsenhausen, which was part of a professional organisation along with Prozelten.

Source: Dr. Uwe Gast, Corpus Vitrearum Germany – Research Centre for Medieval Glass Painting - Lugostraße 13 - D-79100 Freiburg i. Br. – Tel.: +49 / 761 / 7 55 02 - Fax: +49 / 761 / 70 93 19 - E-mail: -


The Measures

  • Detailed photographic documentation in situ as basis for immediate-response measures
  • Involvement of additional experts
  • Bayerisches State Office for Monument Conservation Dr. Ulrich Kahle (Bamberg), Dr. Hannelore Marschner (i.R.), Dr. Susanne Fischer (Munich)
  • Corpus Vitrearum Deutschland– Research Centre for Medieval Glass Painting, Freiburg i. Br.
  • ´Careful removal
  • Detailed discussion of the measures
  • Photographic documentation of the previous condition in the studio
  • Involvement of the CVMA for the detailed inventory documentation
  • Careful cleaning
  • Careful retouching (dry doubling) of the very light-coloured surface defects
  • Warp-resistant framing
  • Re-working of the restraint system, according to the insights gained from the planned research projects organised by the Deutschen Bundesstiftung Umwelt, without modifying the historic iron
  • Protective glazing with laminated sheet glass (6 mm) with double PVB film
  • Scaled storage to preserve all existing panes
  • Documentation of the measures with drawings
  • Photographic documentation of the condition after completion of work (in the studio)


Why couldn't the cleaning continue?

  • Even careful cleaning is an interference in the original substance
  • The amount of original material is limited


To top