Venerdì, 19 Ottobre 2018

Murano glass feted in Paris


Paris, March 26 - From Renaissance nuptial goblets
to a spiderweb sculpture by contemporary artist Mona Hatoum,
nearly 1,000 years of history are spanned at the exhibition
'Fragile: Murano, Masterpieces from the Renaissance to the 21st
Century' in Paris.
The show, on now through July 28 at the Musee' Maillol,
features 200 items from the most historic glass dynasties in
Murano, such as Barovier, Ferro, Serena, all of which are still
active in the Venetian lagoon.
Special focus is awarded to works commissioned for the most
important families from the courts of Europe - such as the
Estes, Gonzagas, and the Medicis - as well as to distinctive
creative styles from the Baroque, Art Deco, modernist and
contemporary movements, such as the 20th-century Studio Glass
One section of the show is reserved for formidable
international artists of the 20th and 21st centuries who
experimented with glass-blowing in Murano at moments in their
careers, such as Marc Chagal, Lucio Fontana, Cesar Baldaccini,
Jan Fabre and Jean-Michel Othoniel.
"A constant in the Venetian style has endured from the
Renaissance to the present: glass is treated like a malleable
material that is worked with fire and the human breath, and this
process must be seen in the finished product," Rosa Barovier
Mentasti, renowned Murano glass expert, told ANSA at the opening
of the show.
Barovier Mentasti is co-curator, along with historian
Cristina Tonini and Olivier Kaeppelin, director of the Maeght
Foundation in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France.
Born in Murano to a family of master glassmakers, Barovier
Mentasti points out that the process for making Murano glass in
a direct flame was passed down from the Romans and the Islamic
During the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance, the island's
glass workshops had an enormous influence on European
Among the many techniques discovered or refined by Murano's
specialists were crystalline glass, enamelled glass, aventurine
glass threaded with gold, multicoloured glass, milk glass and
'filigrana', in which the glass is worked with fine twisted
threads, or filigree.
"Venetian craftsmen have excelled both stylistically, with
refined decorations such as painting on enamel, and for their
technical innovations," said Barovier Mentasti.
Among the highlights of the exhibition, "for its rarity,
elegance and vivacity," says Tonini, is a 16th-century turquoise
cup from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, one of only
three pieces known to the world.
Others are the 'Triumph of Justice' goblet from the
Bargello Museum in Florence; a milk-white cup known as the 'Lute
Player and Young Woman' from the National Museum in Prague, and
a lamp from Dusseldorf designed according to the Islamic
"Today there is a revaluation of Murano glass, long
forgotten, even considered second-rate," say the curators in
their exhibition statement.
"Part of the blame rests on Italian scholars, among the
first to neglect this part of art history.
"The aim of this exhibition is to arouse interest in the
heritage of Venetian glass".

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