A cultural and educational setting, the starting point for making discoveries in situ, the City of stained glass was designed with the help of a scientific committee chaired by Michel Hérold (director of the French committee of Corpus Vitrearum, Centre André Chastel). It is at the centre of an ambitious scientific, cultural and tourism project – with 2013 marking the first act.
The City of stained glass is located in the heart of Troyes, the historic capital of Champagne. It is set in the Hôtel-Dieu-le-Comte compound, a remarkable 18th century group of buildings where it will develop. The City of stained glass is set along a natural itinerary between the cathedral and the Saint-Urbain basilica, with its prestigious stained glass windows. The Departmental Council of Aube completely restored the old “barn” it occupies in 2013. The City of stained glass completes the metamorphosis of a neighbourhood highly valued by tourists, along the quays of the Haute-Seine canal.
10 centuries of stained glass at eye level…
Whereas it is sometimes difficult to see stained glass up close, here everything is at eye level. For the first time, you can appreciate “up close” the stylistic changes from the Middle Ages to our time. 25 stained glass works from the 12th to the 21st century are displayed on 150 m2. They include monumental works like the Tree by Jessé de Laines-aux-Bois (Aube): a stained glass work measuring 3.5 m x 2.0 m, representing the rich local production of the Beautiful 16th century. These original works will be renewed regularly through loans. Their owners are quite diverse: the French government, the city of Troyes, other towns in Aube, Aube Academic Society, individuals, etc. The stained glass of Aube in Champagne is generously represented, alongside works from other French departments and regions. Likewise, civil stained glass asserts its presence alongside major religious heritage works.
Simple and light, the scenography leaves plenty of room for the works, light and colours. The priority is to arouse aesthetic emotions – the objective being to kindle curiosity and expand knowledge of this little known art of stained glass. Next to archive documents, new technologies (interactive terminals, projections, etc.) make it easy to access knowledge.
With the launch of the City of stained glass, the Departmental Council of Aube continues the tourism and cultural initiative started in 2009 with the Champenoise sculpture exhibition, the Beautiful 16th century in Troyes (71,000 visitors), and renewed in 2011 with the Templars - A history, our treasure exhibition (58,000 visitors). “As for the Beautiful 16th century, or for the Templars, the emphasis on stained glass is based on a solid scientific base. This is essential so residents can appropriate their heritage and so we can maintain a credible message over time, including outside Aube” underlines Philippe Adnot, chairman of the Departmental Council. “And it works! Towns, associations, tourism players and other partners are mobilising to organise attractive and quality events. A hundred volunteers have already been trained in stained glass so they can share their passion with church visitors, starting in the summer of 2013.”
From the Troyes cathedral to modest rural churches, the department of Aube in Champagne brings together a unique collection of stained glass in Europe. No other territory offers such abundance, such quality or such density.
Spread over some 200 churches, the 9,000 m2 of stained glass offer a complete panorama of stained glass art from the 12th to the 21st century – with an exceptional representation of the “Beautiful 16th century” (1042 windows are classified as historical monuments). Religious or civil, these luminous chronicles, with shimmering colours and subtle harmonies, are the result of a long history and know-how that continue to thrive. Stained glass art remains alive through two renowned companies in particular : the Manufacture de Flavie Serrière Vincent-Petit.