The project “Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi” is an international research project supported by all European countries exhibiting glass paintings as well as the USA and Canada. The project was initiated in 1952 on the grounds of the deteriorating condition of the glass paintings. The project's tasks are to set up an inventory and to document the medieval as well as the post-medieval glass paintings and their respective scholarly editing. The project also conducts research regarding methods and techniques concerning the conservation of medieval and early modern glass paintings.
The aim of the long-term project, which has been located at the Academy of Science and Literature Mainz since 1975, is the scientific editing of medieval glass paintings. The paintings which were preserved in the old federal states are the subject of the project that was founded in 1952 and unites 12 European countries, the United States of America, and Canada. A place of work in Potsdam that is supervised by the Academy of Science Berlin-Brandenburg is responsible and specifically structured for it since the German reunification in 1990. The art monuments are endangered by damage caused to the environment and are therefore recorded photographically and graphically. Furthermore, they are edited under the guidelines of CVMA. The paintings are either in possession of museums or on-site. Questions concerning technical requirements, historical context, stylistic developments, basics of iconographic programs, the role of the purchaser and the method of operation used by the workshops complement the material assessment of the paintings. Therefore, the project’s editions are significant for medieval studies as a whole and convey new facts and problems. The latter are connected to the preservation and protection of the art monuments. They have led to a linking of scientific research and restorative and preservative support where the Corpus Vitrearum volumes are in progress.
Next to the research activity and the publication of printed volumes of corpora of glass paintings, the project collaborates with the state offices for historical monuments on the tasks of securing and restoring the glass paintings in east Germany and Poland. In this regard, the project managed the joint research project “Modellhafte Beseitigung von Umweltschäden an national wertvollen Glasfenstern unter Einbeziehung der Aus- und Weiterbildung”.