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Venetian glass

Venetian glass In 607 there was Venice, and there at once there were glass workshops. With 1X centuries Venice started competing with Constantinople. The Venetian masters developed own secrets of structures and methods of production of glasses. The Venetian mosaic and the stained-glass windows decorating churches in Venice and in Northern Italy are well-known. After a capture of Constantinople crusaders (1204) Venice remains the only world center a glass making.

The Venetian merchants swimming across all Mediterranean Sea, provided the Italian masters with secrets of the Syrian glass production and acquainted Italians with traditions of Islamic art. The Venetian glaziers hadn't equal in Europe. At this time Venetians delivered invaluable samples of east glass from Constantinople, having taken control of some important secrets of craft. The authorities well understood importance of glass production for the city and established protectionist conditions for local glass and at the same time protected secrets of its production (import of glass to Venice was forbidden, foreign master- glass making weren't allowed to work in Venice, and the raw materials for production of glass were forbidden to take out abroad).

ancient Venetian glass The Venetian masters reached high perfection in production of various jewelry and vessels. The Venetian invention are "vessels in a grid", vases-diatreta, "the Venetian glass" is usually decorated by gold, color glass threads, small bubbles ("midge"). Production of jewelry of color glass - a beads, beads, artificial pearls, an artificial jewelry and semiprecious stones was the main specialty glass making . The special attention is deserved by a fake under copper aventurine, a jasper and agate as the most difficult performed by. The Venetian mirrors used big popularity. It is known that the Venetian envoy brought Maria Medici's mirror as a wedding gift (1600). It had the sizes only 14 x 16 cm, but had no price.

In the XV century murano glass was extremely highly appreciated in all Europe. The Venetian rains brought Murano's products as precious gifts to the important persons visiting the city. Contemporaries sincerely were surprised that from glass - invaluable, in effect, a material – murano glass masters manage to create the real works of art.

Venetian glass in Russian Hermitage In the XVI century the glory of muransky glass becomes really world. It get everywhere as luxury goods. Creations the murano glass of masters reach an improbable subtlety. In a literal sense. Vessels confuse with the zero gravity, glass weight strikes with phenomenal purity and transparency. Images of traditional transparent Venetian ware can be met in a set on cloths of the Italian painters.

Unique skill and art ingenuity the murano glass making affected in an exclusive variety of forms. Jugs, decanters, flasks, vases, saltcellars, bowls, glasses were produced in Murano in large quantities. Vessels for drink in a bird species, whales, tritons and lions, belltowers and barrels and especially - galleys and gondolas (these small glass ships, fortunately, remained in the museums of Western Europe) enjoyed special popularity. Subjects from transparent and opaque glass were decorated by usually welded on colorless or painted details: sockets, masks, cambers in the form of drops and bubbles; edges of vessels became wavy and curved. Quite often the role of freakish and at the same time functional jewelry was carried out by bird's and animal tails, paws, wings, combs...

Venetian glass collection antic Venetian glass in Russian Hermitage

ancient glass from Venetian The chandeliers ornate by clusters, flowers and leaves, - irreplaceable and necessary accessory of furniture of times of Louis XV were the most quick-selling goods during this time.

Up to the XVIII century the Senate essentially rose against any foreign innovations in area a glass making , trying to keep in purity national character of the Venetian glass production.

The prices of the Venetian products reached a gold equivalent on weight. The master admitted to shop glass making , received a noble rank. Marriage between such master and the daughter of the notable nobleman wasn't considered as misalliance. But glass making it was forbidden to leave borders of the Venetian Republic, and delivery of professional secret was punished by death.

With development a glass making in the city fires became frequent. Under this pretext in XIII an eyelid all glass workshops were transferred to Murano's island in two kilometers from the capital. (Since then the Venetian glass began to be called "Murano glass", and this island is up to now a symbol of high-quality glass. )

But there was also other reason. By the Byzantine legislation, "barbarians" (foreigners) it was forbidden to pay in gold for goods brought by them and to sell them luxury goods, "that tempted with taste of those wouldn't decide to interfere with big ease in borders of the state". Embargo extended and on glass. There was the special police watching observance not only this law, but also behind the most strict preservation of secrets of skill. Actually glass making lived on the island on position of the prisoners who are under house arrest. Cases when the master, having deceived vigilance of guards were known, moved to one of the European capitals to open there a workshop. To duties of police belonged to follow the criminal, to find him and to kill. Therefore many secrets of the Venetian masters were lost irrevocably.

colored Venetian glass ancient Venetian vase ancient transparent Venetian glass ancient Venetian glass jug


Some photos: the collection of Venetian glass in Hermitage Sain-Petersburg, Russia