Since 2015, art historians in Austria have been documenting and studying the country’s stained glass collections not only from the Middle Ages and Early Modern period, but also from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The impulse for this extended focus was provided by the project “Corpus Vitrearum – Medieval and Modern Stained Glass in Austria”, one of eight projects awarded funding within the framework of the OeAW’s New Frontiers Research Groups Programme. This project has enabled researchers to continue work on medieval stained glass in Austria, based for many years at the OeAW, while extending the focus for the first time in history to include documentation of stained glass post-1800. Several important major works of this epoch (including, for instance, Franzensburg Castle in Laxenburg, Vienna-Breitensee Parish Church, and St. Mary’s Cathedral in Linz) have been examined from a variety of perspectives concerned with diverse questions rooted in the history of artist, politics, theology and technology. In 2020, a DACH project has been developed in cooperation with colleagues in Germany and Switzerland in order to continue this work.

This expansion of the focus from the Middle Ages to Modernity represents an innovative research initiative on the European level while also responding to current developments within the “International Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi” (CVMA). This scholarly undertaking in the study and publication of medieval stained glass works that remain largely unknown and neglected by the literature was founded in 1952. Involving Austrian participation at its inception, it was the first research project in art history on an international basis.

At the 26th conference, hosted by the OeAW in Vienna in September 2012, the Austrian National Committee applied to expand the Corpus Vitrearum’s scholarly work on the international level to include stained glass collections produced after 1800. As a result, in 2014 all participating countries began to work on binding guidelines for the documentation and publication of these works. The guidelines were adopted at the international conference in Troyes in July 2016.

In reduced form, this research is being extended in 2020 as a project funded by the City of Vienna entitled “Art Production in the Age of Early Globalisation: the Activities of the Tyrolean Stained Glass Institute in Vienna around 1900”. The focus is on the artworks of the Tyrolean Stained Glass and Mosaic Institute in Innsbruck created specifically for Vienna from 1861 on. Rooted in art history and cultural studies, the project examines the strategies of the Tyrolean Stained Glass Workshop that allowed them to coexist with the competition in the Habsburg Empire in an age of economic and cultural globalisation.

In parallel to these studies, work is ongoing on volumes documenting the corpus of medieval stained glass in Styria (Part 2–3, Admont to Vorau).