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Venice since its founding in 420 d.c. represented, in the Upper Adriatic area, the culmination of all the maritime trade with the eastern shores of the Mediterranean.

Of all the goods arrived from the East, glass enjoyed a representative role. As evidence of this through excavations carried out for the remediation of historic buildings, they have been found in it housing facilities from the Roman era, so officially it was thought that the city of Venice had been incurred by deserters of the Roman city to find refuge from the barbarians.


From this we can deduce that the glass Venetian art comes directly from Roman and Northern Adriatic, however, the real development occurred in the Middle Ages, where art and craft were further enhanced. The Venetian glassmakers began to practice this art inheriting the use of glass by sodium Eastern.
Such a composition is suitable for hot work and in this cleverly distinguished for the aesthetic taste and the use of more colors. The aesthetic capacity for Venetian is based on the intuition that the glass is a highly malleable material and thus suitable for being blown and shaped in incandescent state, but able to maintain the same color characteristics even in the finished product.
This differs from the Nordic tradition, which holds that the glass is the equivalent of the hard stone and then that the skill lies in valuing the objects through the cut. The first documents that come to us on the art Venetian glassmaking dates back to 982 AD, the year in which it appears the name of a craftsman glassmaker in Venice, so we can assume that this art, which is still active, is more than a thousand worldwide . After 982 there was confirmation of the existence of other Venetian glass, but in the thirteenth century the dominance turned sharply of Murano artisans.

This was due to the fact that the glassworks focused course on the island of Murano, so much so that in 1291 the state established the destruction of glassware made in Murano in Venice assigning the historical origin, so much so that these days some dynasties today glassworks have produced their activities without interruption.


It is believed that the glass factory in Murano originated in the eighth century, with significant Asian and Arabic influences, as Venice was a major trading port.
The fame of Murano like glass processing center was born when the Venetian Republic, to prevent the burning of the buildings of the city (then largely built of wood),
ordered glassmakers to move their foundries to Murano in 1291 and the first sprang up in the popular rio of Glaziers.

Unlike other countries where the glassworks stood in production sites of raw materials or fuel, Venice and Murano have always imported all materials such as silicon glazing,
the dark sodas and other, from far away places, including firewood, fuel up the last century, which came from Istrian and Dalmatian coasts.
The true quality of the island of Murano, though, was the man with his experience, which over time has perfected the styles, quality and the ability to shape the hot glass.
These glass artists have always been contacted since the Renaissance to bring in the courts and in the shops of their skills, becoming masters.
In fact, for this reason, in Murano glass he was activated a school that initiated young people to this profession even if the experience in glassworks remained unique.
In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the Murano glass was required by the upper classes of Europe, starting from the invention of glass in 1450;
In fact, the crystal is a glass quality that differs and that gives the same glass of the peculiar characteristics due to the same base of silicon but in a higher percentage of lead oxide (24%),
for which the products created were particularly refined to meet the demand for extremely wealthy clients.
In the Baroque period the research was transformed through the execution of effect objects such as roes, or compositions containing silicates,
tin and lead with white appearance milk from which the etymology, which approached perfectly to the furniture of the eighteenth century Venice also in 'decadent era of the Venetian Republic.
After the end of the Republic of San Marco in 1797 the glass handicraft revival happened in the second half of the nineteenth century,
and the glassworks that were born still worked out techniques in use and which gave rise to the contemporary glass and design.

The glassmakers of Murano class soon became the most prominent on the island: in fact, from the fourteenth century, glassmakers were allowed to wear swords,
enjoyed immunity from prosecution by the Venetian state and their daughters were allowed to marry with the most wealthy families of Venice.
However glassmakers were never allowed to leave the Republic. Many craftsmen took the risk to plant the processing furnaces in nearby cities or in distant countries like England and the Netherlands.
At the end of the sixteenth century, three thousand seven thousand inhabitants on the island of Murano were involved in some way in the glass industry.
For several centuries, the glassmakers of Murano maintained a monopoly on the quality of the glass, on the development or improvement of techniques, including those of crystalline glass, enameled glass,
glass with threads of gold (aventurine), the multicolored glass (millefiori ), the glass-milk (milk glass) and precious stones in glass imitated.
Today, the artisans of Murano are still employing these century-old techniques, in every processing: from contemporary art glass to glass figurines Murano, to the chandeliers and wine stoppers.
Today, Murano is home to a vast number of factories and workshops-studies of individual artists who create all sorts of glassware both for mass market for both original sculptures.

15th Century

Initially, the blown glass had utilitarian purpose and in fact it retains little documentation, while in 1400 in Venice began to produce the glass object even with purely artistic-aesthetic purpose.
In the second half of the fifteenth century it appeared the works of painters of crystalline glass such as: Pietro de Zorzi Cortiner, Filippo de Catanei the Siren, Valentino Ungaro,
Zuane Licini Maria, Maria Zuane Leopard and others who used colored glazes fuse.
This glass called crystal because extremely pure, appear to have been created by Angelo Barovier (1405-1460) descended from a famous dynasty of the island of Murano glassmakers still operational.
Referring to the creation of the crystal, the crystal glass that comes transparent and colored later, in the fifteenth century, more often, was produced and left colorless like rock crystal, and crystal.
This evil transparent material is married but with matte enamel decorations and often, and by the time the decorations became increasingly read and executed in enamel or golden dots,
production continues until the first quarter of the sixteenth century.

16th Century

In this century, in addition to the decorated glass or transparent glass decorated with white milk glass used filigree (long, thin rods inserted into the transparent glass),
the glass was decorated with the engraving with a diamond tip or flint, which scratched the glass surface with a predetermined pattern,
on Vincenzo invention of Angelo Dal Gallo in 1534 which was used by giving the image of the crystal as wrapped by a fine lace.
Otherwise manufacturing era was the "Ice glass", wrinkled and discipleship outside, polished but not transparent.
The decoration was done by applying the cold color on the reverse of the objects and using the subjects of the paintings of artists such as Raphael or Primaticcio;
testifying to the plate with "The two sleeping women" who likely was executed by Marcantonio Raimondi revisiting a painting by Raphael.
Towards the end of the century they spread the decorative glass "in pens" using milk glass wrapped in wires "combed" festooned with a special tool.
In the second half of the sixteenth century the objects became more complex and articulated because it treated the working clamp.
In the sixteenth century with the spread and the Murano glass renowned throughout Europe the teachers were called to work in foreign glassworks mainly in the Netherlands, Germany,
England and Spain. Among the most famous families in the second half of the fifteenth century are:
the Barovier, the Mozzetto, the Della Pigna and in the sixteenth century, the dynasties of Ballarin, of De Catanei Della Sirena, the D'Angelo Dal Gallo, of Bortolussi and Dragani.

17th Century

In the seventeenth century they were not particularly innovative items produced, but then the glass is distinguished for the production of artifacts called à la façon de Venise products
abroad with local artisans or very often by Murano glass masters expatriates.
These, satisfying the taste of the host countries, emphasized the baroque decoration motifs appeared in the previous century even on colored glass,
such as the decoration of the stems on wine glasses called "wing."
Unfortunately this century remarked the great exodus of Murano masters who found home in the big cities of northern Europe more to the misery due to the rigidity of the republican laws that economic objectives.
And it is in this period that the art of glass began to decline despite having accomplished artists, giving space to the affirmation of the Bohemian glass.
This glass, born in the seventies and eighties, the most clear and heavier than the Venetian, could be worked more easily be slotted it to etching no longer scratch but wheel.
So, paradoxically, at the end of the century in Venice they imitated the roller engravings of Bohemian glass.

18th Century

Trying to get out from the serious crisis in which it had come across the glass art in the early eighteenth century, the Murano Giuseppe Briati started a similar glass production in composition to that of Bohemian glass,
without imitating the works but trying to win the competition. As for the roller engraved glass, technique also Bohemian, albeit by varying the shape, they had to be called crystals "to the use of Bohemia".
Nevertheless, the production of Briati, approved by the Council of Ten in 1737, was a huge success. Among the most popular items include the "chiocche", chandeliers many arms decorated with garlands, flowers and leaves, "deseri" table centerpieces,
the colored glass mirrors and the famous "milk glass" that mimicked the porcelain. In Murano milk glass it was mainly engages the Miotti family and Bertolini brothers, who in 1739 had obtained from the Republic of Venice's unique decorate it with gold.
This era is also that of the production of camouflage glasses as "chalcedony", l ' "aventurine" and blown glass decorated with hot enamel.
Masters of this technique were Osvaldo Brussa and his son Angelo Brussa, with the subjects of which are characterized by flowers, fruit, animals, sacred and profane scenes, we arrive at the beginning of 1800.
We should not forget that the glass is practical application through the creation of household objects, such as ampoules for oil and vinegar, table lamps Florentine, trays, baskets, centerpieces and as furniture decorative material.
For most of the 1700 enjoyed great importance the Venetian mirror framed by decorations, glazes and engravings, which sometimes appeared on the surface.
Successors Briati were Giandolin Giacomo, Lorenzo Lipstick and Zuane Gastaldello, Victor Mestre, the Society of Fine Crystals for Use of Bohemia, Antonio Motta, Vincenzo Moretti and C.

19th Century

Fall of the Republic of San Marco, Venice in 1797 began an industrial and employment crisis, as in 1806 Napoleonic decrees sanctioned the abolition of the guilds,
and therefore the work of glassblowers lost the protection of Art Mariegola;
more furnaces suffered competition Bohemia, Styria and Carinthia, of which glass productions abounded our markets.
In addition, the massive emigration of the glass, spread professional secrets while imported raw materials and exported products, suffered the high burden of taxation.
A lull appeared, then, in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, both technically and aesthetically, even though it was still very crudely painted glass tradition of the enamel of Brussa.
The revival was about in 1838 by Domenico Bussolin and Peter Bigaglia in 1845, which resumed producing filigree glass in bright colors and variety of plots and the production of ' "aventurine" and Lorenzo Radi with "chalcedony".
Later, in the middle of the century, the Toso brothers founded the eponymous furnace and Antonio Salviati in 1859 created the laboratory collaborating with the abbot Vincenzo Zanetti at the Archive Foundation and the School of Design for glassmakers,
which will become the Museum of Glass. School and Museum were closely related because students became teachers if adept at accurately reproduce antiques. After the war of 1866, with the annexation of Veneto to Italy, he revived the splendor of Murano.
In fact, in 1866 Antonio Salviati reactivated the production and trade of glass blowing exporting especially in London. In this era Vincenzo Moretti created the "glass murrine" of the Society of Venice and Murano reproducing a Roman mosaic glass.
The artisans also replayed the early Christian glasses with gold leaf exposed Universal Exposition of 1878 in Paris and the enamelled glass including the "Barovier 'Cup, in the Museum, which constitutes the first film; however, the technique that reproduced the excavated pottery,
glass and Corinthians are the Phoenicians produced by the Society of Venice and Murano, from Salviatti and Fratelli Toso.
Towards the nineties across Europe they were born innovators movements, but it continued to produce nineteenth-century Murano glass.
In 1895, however, the Barovier, before the opening of the Venice Biennale, produced lightweight glasses with clear Art Nouveau shape spiral stem.

20th Century
Il XX secolo comincia a Murano con nuovi processi di lavorazione del vetro di foggia moderna. Il primo innovatore fu Vittorio Toso Borella, che creò, intorno al 1909, due ciotole in vetro leggerissimo decorate con aironi e fiori acquatici a smalto trasparente. A Vittorio Zecchin, artista del gruppo secessionista di Cà Pesaro, si devono creazioni in vetro mosaico realizzate nella fornace dei Barovier ed esposte a Cà Pesaro nel 1913. Nel 1914 divenne famosa la lastrica "barbaro" disegnata dal pittore Teodoro Wolf Ferrari. Dopo l'interruzione dovuta alla Prima Guerra Mondiale, le fornaci ripresero la produzione adottando uno stile essenziale e funzionale. Subito dopo la guerra iniziarono le collaborazioni tra artisti e fornaci. Vittorio Zecchin stesso divenne direttore artistico della "Vetri Soffiati Muranesi Cappellin Venini e C.", nata nel 1921 e specializzata nel recupero degli stili dei vetri cinquecenteschi, tratti dai dipinti rinascimentali, come ad esempio il "Calice Costolato" ed il "Vaso Veronese". Altri artisti come il pittore Guido Cadorin e lo scultore Napoleone Martinuzzi collaborarono con le aziende e quest'ultimo, nel 1925, alla separazione di Cappellin e Venini, divenne direttore artistico della "Nuova Vetri Soffiati Muranesi Venini e C." fino al 1932. Tra le sue opere, che denotavano l'esperienza di scultore, gli anatroccoli in vetro e filigrana del 1929 e un tipo di vetro opaco con bolle d'aria o "puleghe" inglobate, detto perciò "pulegoso", oggetti di spessore consistente come frutti, funghi e piante grasse decorate da nastri. Negli anni venti Umberto Bellotto si distinse perché accostò il vetro al ferro battuto e collaborò con la Pauly & c. e prima con Barovier, che era la vetreria artistica più attiva tra il 1920 e il 1930 e si avvaleva del tecnico e designer Ercole Barovier. Seconda per importanza era la S.A.L.I.R., nota per il vetro inciso e per la collaborazione dell'acquafortista Guido Balsamo Stella e dell'incisore boemo Franz Pelzel. All'inizio degli anni venti riaprì la Salviati con la collaborazione di Dino Martens e del pittore Mario De Luigi. Nel 1940 si cominciò a considerare come tradizione vetraria anche il vetro di grosso spessore e dagli anni trenta si datarono i vetri di Carlo Scarpa per Venini. Dopo la guerra, con la ripresa dell'attività, si distinsero Ercole Barovier e Giulio Radi per la AVEM, per l'uso di coloranti metallici, mentre Alfredo Barbini modellò a caldo una serie di sculture. Archimede Seguso, perseguendo le tecniche tradizionali, realizzò in filigrana preziosi tessuti. Dagli anni cinquanta la fornace di Paolo Venini, diretta dal 1959 dal genero Ludovico Diaz de Santillana, collaborò con designers di ogni nazionalità e i due figli di Ludovico, Alessandro e Laura, crearono con il vetro mosaico piatti di particolare bellezza. Tra i numerosi artisti che collaborarono ad evidenziare il marchio Salviati vi fu il pittore Luciano Gaspari. Parallelamente, ad una produzione di altissimo livello ma prevalentemente seriale, Nason e Moretti e Carlo Moretti, cominciarono a produrre soprattutto vetri da tavola. A Murano oggi il vetro è diventato espressione d'arte pura a cui gli artisti si dedicano servendosi delle fornaci ma senza vincoli di produzione seriale.