Skip to main content

Verre eglomise - Reverse Glass Painting

Katherine is a well known art blogger who has been writing extensively on art on 'Making A Mark' for the last 10 years.

Reverse Glass Painting - Resources for Artists

Find out about Reverse Glass Painting (also known as Verre eglomise or 'hinterglasmalerei') - where the painting is painted on one side and then viewed from the other side.

This site aims to provide a resource for those who want to find out more about this very traditional form of European painting which dates back to the Middle Ages. It's also become a traditional art in America as well.

On this site you will find links to artists, books, videos and instruction on techniques for reverse glass painting which explain the very old practice of reverse glass painting - and how to do it

View in the woods (1660-1680) by Jan van der Heyden Medium Verre glomis Dimensions 34 x 42.5 cm (13.4 x 16.7 in)

View in the woods (1660-1680) by Jan van der Heyden Medium Verre glomis Dimensions 34 x 42.5 cm (13.4 x 16.7 in)

The Tradition of Verre glomis or reverse glass painting

also known as hinterglas painting

Reverse glass painting is a method of painting where the artists paints the picture on glass - on the reverse side (ie the other side from that through which the glass will be viewed).

Reverse glass painting has a long history in European Painting where it has been known since the 14th century as a traditional painting technique. European names for it are Verre glomis (French) or Hinterglas painting (German).

The earliest known examples of reverse glass painting come from from the time of Constantine - in the 3rd century AD.

After that it emerged again out of the Middle Ages in 13th and 14th century Europe. At that time its primary use was to decorate furniture see some examples of how reverse glass painting has decorated furniture in the "Eaxmples" module below. Small panels of glass with designs formed by engraved gilding were applied to . The methods used are described by Cennino Cennini in Chappter XI of his book "The Craftsman's Handbook"

" Verre glomis " as a technical term name derives from a chap called Jean-Baptise Glomy (1711–1786) who was an 18th century French decorator and art-dealer. This is the man who is responsible for initiating it becoming popular again in the 18th and 19th centuries

Countries known to have well developed traditions include Germany, Austria, Romania, Yugoslavia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Reverse glass painting was a very popular folk art in the 19th century in Austria, Bavaria, Moravia, Bohemia and Slovakia. These cultures took reverse glass painting to North America when people emigrated there - and it started to develop a tradition about reverse glass painting in American art History

Mass production involved lots of home workers. Glass painting was winter employment for many farming families. Elsewhere small business thrived on a demand for reverse glass painting.

At the end of the nineteenth century the invention of photography and colour lithography suppressed demand

While a lot of the painting is focused on religious subjects - it was widely used for painting religious subjects in the Middle Ages - it has also been used to create signs and to paint more traditional subjects such as flowers, still life and landscapes.

Painting on glass began to become more popular again in the 1990s and artists using it today are finding new subjects and new styles within their approach to reverse painting on glass

The Craftsman's Handbook - by Cennino d'Andrea Cennini

This book is regarded as a "standard" in "how to" manuals for artists.

Rated 4.3 out of 5 stars by 16 customer reviews

It was written by a fifteenth century artist. It's a "how to" manual for artists working at the same time and ranges widely across various practical matters related to art eg from how to draw, to how paint frescos and how to make paint

Scroll to Continue

In Chapter XI it considers how to gild glass for reliquary ornaments and how to draw on glass, how to scrape off gold and how to back up drawings with colours. In effect it's the first manual on how to do reverse glass painting

Oberammergau Museum Hinterglasmalerei Beispiele By Photo: Andreas Praefcke (Own work (own photograph)) [CC-BY-3.0]

Oberammergau Museum Hinterglasmalerei Beispiele By Photo: Andreas Praefcke (Own work (own photograph)) [CC-BY-3.0]

About Reverse Glass Painting - also known as Verre Glomis or Hinterglasmalerei

The history of reverse glass painting varies depending on which European perspective is being used to explain it.

Reverse glass painting is the term which is becoming more frequent in order to make the art more accessible to others

Hinterglasmalerei focuses very much on the traditions of icons and folk art associated with countries in Middle Europe or the Austro Hungarian empire

  • Reverse glass painting - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Reverse painting on glass is an art form consisting of applying paint to a piece of glass and then viewing the image by turning the glass over and looking through the glass at the image. Verre Ãglomisé is a commonly used term to refer to the art of
  • Verre glomis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Verre glomis, from the French term meaning glass gilded, is a process in which the back side of glass is gilded with gold or metal leaf.
  • Hinterglasmalerei - Wikipedia
    When painting on glass out the contours are drawn, then painted the figures and the very end is the background painted. It will be at the painting on glass, other materials such as gold leaf or silver paper used. A variant of reverse glass painting i
  • History of Eglomise glass
    Brief history of Eglomise glass

Reverse Glass Painting in different countries

  • No turnaround for reverse glass paintings | TalkVietnam
    The art of making reverse glass paintings, once ubiquitous in homes and pagodas in Vietnam, is dying. The art and tradition of reverse glass painting was brought to Vietnam by Chinese immigrants more than a century ago and soon developed to become a
Anonymous reverse painting on glass of a Persian king, western India, late 19th century

Anonymous reverse painting on glass of a Persian king, western India, late 19th century

Historical Examples of Reverse Glass Painting

The folk art examples of reverse glass painting might suggest that this art is unsophisticated. However historical and modern examples of the application of reverse painting on glass suggest that the reverse is true.

In the hand of people who can paint extremely well, this is a very sophisticated form of painting.

Check out the examples below

BOOK: Reverse Paintings on Glass - by Wolfgagng Steiner

This book focuses on 300 years of reverse painting on glass produced within the tradition of Hinterglas painting

BOOK: Reverse Paintings on Glass - The Ryser Collection - Rudy Eswarin (Editor)

This catalogue was published to accompany an exhibition of the unequalled Ryser collection - of reverse painting on glass - at the Corning Museum of Glass in New York

The book charts the history of this neglected art from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Almost 100 colour illustrations demonstrate the vitality and charm of these miniature portraits, landscapes and genre paintings.

George Huszar, Romanian painter, working on his own stylized manner of a Traditional Reverse Painting on Glass. By copyright & owned by en:George Huszar (April 27, 2005) GDeCourcy at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-2.5]

George Huszar, Romanian painter, working on his own stylized manner of a Traditional Reverse Painting on Glass. By copyright & owned by en:George Huszar (April 27, 2005) GDeCourcy at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-2.5]

Practical Tips for Reverse Glass Painting - Including step by step instruction in Verre Eglomise

This section aims to develop a compendium of useful sites which provide information online about reverse glass painting.

The process of reverse painting on glass has quite a few steps. The main principle is that the foreground is painted first and the background last.

VIDEO: Verre glomis by Yanny Petters (high quality) - a video on YouTube

This video comes in two parts.

  • The first part covers a step by step process of producing Verre Eglomise
  • The second part looks at the history and shows a number of examples of Verre Eglomise

BOOK: Gold Leaf, Paint & Glass - by Frances Federer

For those wanting tp learn more about the basics of the art of reverse glass painting, this publication covers the basics of 'verre eglomise'.

  • It covers the methods, techniques and history of reverse glass gilding and painting.
  • It's written by an artist with 30 years experience
  • It provides clearly illustrated, step-by-step projects - including ones which are suitable for beginners and ones which are suitable for those with more experience

BOOK: Reverse Glass Painting: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Learning the Craft - by Anne Dimock

The author of this book is now an accredited trecher of reverse glass painting for the Historical Society of Early American Decoration.

Reverse glass painting, as demonstrated in this book, involves creating a traditional primitive picture on a piece of glass in a way that the finished image can be viewed on the opposite side of the glass.

Artists who produce reverse glass paintings - also known as Verre Eglomise or Hinterglas

I'm developing a list of artists who follow this tradition of reverse painting on glass - and who are also online

Signmakers who use Verre glomis

Museums - Verre glomis or reverse glass painting in permanent collections

Exhibitions of Verre eglomise or reverse glass painting

  • Olivier Cornet Gallery | Home
    'Floral Alchemy' - 24 April - 24 May 2013 Solo Show - Artist  Yanny Petters Olivier Cornet Gallery 1 The Wooden Building, Exchange St Upper, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 01 677 0280 | 087 288 7261Opening Times Tue - Sat 11am
  • Verre Eglomise on Pinterest
    Verre Eglomise on Pinterest

Reverse Glass Painting on Facebook

Articles about Verre eglomise

Comments and Feedback - Has this site helped you?

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on July 25, 2013:

@anonymous: I've added your website to the list of artists

anonymous on July 25, 2013:

You can add me to your list of artist who create verre eglomise. Cat Kaley McCarroll, San Francisco, CA many thanks! Cat

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on January 24, 2013:

@Gayle Dowell: Sometimes the most simple art is the most complicated to get right and some of the apparently complex is completed very quickly. It's not fair! ;)

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on January 24, 2013:

@dahlia369: I was equally enamoured when I discovered this technique which has been around for ages but gets little public profile

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on January 24, 2013:

@jnstewart: It's always good to learn something new

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on January 24, 2013:

@JerryWojo: Glad you liked it Jerry

JerryWojo on January 24, 2013:

Really enjoyed this lens..thanks!

John Norman Stewart from Cottonwood, CA on January 23, 2013:

Your lens made me want to try it......thanks for sharing. :)

dahlia369 on January 23, 2013:

I enjoy learning about art/painting techniques so I enjoyed your lens very much. Thank you!!

Delia on January 23, 2013:

What an awesome lens! I can't imagine painting in reverse, but I guess practice makes perfect...I have a hard time painting the normal way. Love all the images...thanks for sharing!~d-artist Squid Angel Blessing~

Gayle Dowell from Kansas on January 23, 2013:

I've not seen this before. It looks complicated to do.

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on October 13, 2012:

@anonymous: Great! Do let me know how you get on!

anonymous on October 13, 2012:

@makingamark: thanks have looked into her website - if I do find someone will let you know in the meantime I am enjoying reverse painting loving it Thanks for the article as it is informative to the people who do not know

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on October 13, 2012:

@flycatcherrr: When I found out about reverse glass painting, it reminded me of pieces I saw in my grandparents house which I'd completely forgotten about. It always intrigued me as to how it was done.

flycatcherrr on October 12, 2012:

My grandparents had a few pieces of reverse glass painting; it quite fascinated me when I was a kid and I have always wanted to try it. It is a fun mental exercise to look at a landscape and try to plan out how you'd lay on the paint in reverse order... very challenging to actually do it, I would expect.

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on October 11, 2012:

@anonymous: Yanny lives in Ireland - I don't know whether she ever does courses in the UK - might be worth asking her.

LadyFlashman from United Kingdom on October 11, 2012:

How cool! I would love to see reverse glass painting in action. What a beautiful and informative lens.

anonymous on October 10, 2012:

@makingamark: thanks I need someone in England otherwise will have to go abroad to see how they do the work will keep looking out for someone

Kylyssa Shay from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on October 09, 2012:

Gorgeous! Now I want to try reverse glass painting!

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on October 08, 2012:

@anonymous: Teresa - there are links to the websites of artists who do reverse glass painting abovePlus links to some good books about reverse glass painting.Let me know how get on.

anonymous on October 08, 2012:

I do reverse art glass painting and I am finding it difficult to get in touch with anyone that does or even to contact to get some hints. I use acrylic paint as I find it drys very quickly but oil paint is used and would like to know which one??I need more info on the subject which no one seems to know about Help!! Teresa

Related Articles