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Design for stained glass - Design for a Stained Glass Window
  • Design for a Stained Glass Window
    Baldung Grün, Hans
  • Enlarge image

Design for a Stained Glass Window

  • Object:

    Design for stained glass

  • Place of origin:

    Germany (drawn)

  • Date:

    ca. 1508 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Baldung Grün, Hans (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink and red chalk on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case TOPIC, shelf 2A

This design for a stained glass window is the work of at least two different hands. The first was an artist from the glass workshop, who drew the architectural framwork, shields and the red chalk outline which lays out the general shape of the design. Working within these pictorial guidelines and the written instuctions below, Hans Baldung then executed the figures of the nuns.

Physical description

This is a drawing in pen and ink and red chalk. It shows a group of six nuns kneeling under a Gothic canopy. There is a coat of arms in the bottom right corner. An inscription is written in German along the bottom of the drawing. Previously the drawing was folded once in each direction. A loss to the very bottom right corner has been repaired.

Place of Origin

Germany (drawn)


ca. 1508 (drawn)


Baldung Grün, Hans (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink and red chalk on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Item vi nunnen vier nach einander und zwo dahinder als gross sie syn mogen hindren pfeyler lond euch nit irren oder den rottelstrich.'
Item, six nuns, four one behind the other, and two in the background, of the necessary size. By the pillars at the back do not be led into error, nor by the red chalk.
This inscription is the artist's instruction to the glass-painter.

A crown
Watermark (Briquet 4950). According to K. T. Parker, this watermark is found on other designs by Baldung.


Height: 43 cm, Width: 32.5 cm

Object history note

This drawing is part of a design for a stained glass window for the Convent at Hohenberg (Odilienberg), Alsace. It is thought to have been commissioned by Veronica of Andlau when she became Abbess of the convent, in about 1508 (although Butts and Hendrix date the drawing to about 1510). Veronica of Andlau is identified as the woman at the fore of the group, holding a rod-like object. The window does not survive, having been destroyed in a peasant's revolt of 1525 or in a fire some decades after that.
A partner to this drawing is in the colllection of Gottingen University (Koch, cat. 72). It shows kneeling male donors, led by Knight Veltin of Andlau. It is difficult to know how the two designs fitted into the greater scheme for the window.

Historical significance: Hans Baldung trained under Durer and is regarded as one of his most talented followers. Many of Baldung's stained-glass designs survive. This drawing, and its partner in Gottingnen, are among the few that relate to large windows.

Historical context note

The designer and glass-painter were two separate roles. The designer, Baldung, would have passed this drawing to the glass-painter in order for the latter to carry out the work. Certain details are drawn very clearly and there are written instructions and colour notes to assist the glass-painter. The red chalk lines indicate the position of the leads. These are the elements the designer felt he needed to specify to the glass-painter. At the same time, the upper right section of the drawing has been left unfinished. This is because this section would be a direct mirror of that on the left. Such economy is typical of drawings produced by designers for makers, and shows a working-familiarity between the two: the glass-painter would never have been in any doubt about what was intended to fill the blank section.

Descriptive line

Design for a stained glass window, for the Convent of Hohenberg (Odilienberg), drawn by Hans Baldung Grien, about 1508

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Koch, Carl, 'Die Zeichnungen Hans Baldung Griens', Berlin, 1941, cat. 71, pp.106-7, ill.
Parker, K. T., 'Un Dessin Inedit de Hans Baldung Grien' in Archives Alsaciennes, 1922, pp.43-52
Butts, Barbara and Hendrix, Lee, 'Painting on Light: Drawings and Stained Glass in the Age of Durer and Holbein', Los Angeles, 2000, pp.11-12
Foister, Susan, Art of Light: German Renaissance Stained Glass, London: The National Gallery, 2008.
Lambert, Susan. Drawing: Technique & Purpose. London: Victoria & Albert Museum, 1981. 13 p.
Hans Baldung Grien, Karlsruhe : C.F. Müller, 1959

Production Note

Between 1507-9 Baldung worked in Nuremberg, Halle and Strasbourg.

Hohenberg (now Odilienberg) and Strasbourg are in modern-day France.


Ink; Paper; Red chalk

Subjects depicted

Patronage; Abbess; Gothic; Bible; Nun; Devotion


Designs; Drawings; Stained Glass

Production Type



Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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