The Swiss 16th–17th-century stained glass is the core of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts stained glass collection. At the same time, it is the most damaged part of the collection that requires conservation.
In the 16th century, the Swiss Confederacy was the largest centre of the small-format stained glass production. The stained glass paintings, along with the preparatory drawings, have a special place in the visual arts hierarchy. A distinctive feature of the Swiss stained glass school was a unique typology that derived from the specifics of the social life in the late 15th–16th centuries: the military mercenary institution played an important role in the society while the nobility was virtually nonexistent.
The museum collection includes the following: welcoming glass panels (German — Willkommscheibe) which Swiss mercenaries often commissioned; illustrative glass panels (German – Bildscheibe) with religious and literary scenes; and diverse heraldic glass panels (German – Wappenscheibe) that were often presented as gifts and signified friendship and special patronage.
The stained glass from the Pushkin State collection was created based on drawings of the famous artists like Hieronymus Lang (1520–1582), Christoph Murer (1558–1614), Hans Jakob Plepp (1557–1597), and Hans Brand (1546–1605). Some of the works have the author’s monogram on them.