Ar­ti­stic glass in Mu­ra­no

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Glass­ma­king had al­rea­dy be­co­me an in­te­gral part of li­fe in the Ve­ne­tian la­goon in the 7th cen­tu­ry B.C. Fur­ther­mo­re, af­ter the year 1000 A.D. its pro­duc­tion had be­co­me so im­por­tant that it was pro­tec­ted by spe­ci­fic la­ws: the fur­na­ces used to crea­te the mol­ten glass we­re a con­stant fi­re ha­zard in the nar­row stree­ts of Venice. As a con­se­quen­ce, all the glass work­shops we­re mo­ved to Mu­ra­no whe­re they are still lo­ca­ted to­day.

It was he­re that eye­glas­ses we­re in­ven­ted in the 13th cen­tu­ry and he­re that, in 1369, mir­rors be­gan to be pro­du­ced. It was al­so he­re that, in 1450, An­ge­lo Ba­ro­vier in­ven­ted cry­stal. Glass was a ra­re com­mo­di­ty th­rou­ghout the Re­nais­san­ce: it was on­ly in 1827 that pro­duc­tion on an in­du­strial le­vel be­gan. At that point, blo­wn glass or glass pro­du­ced by lam­p­wor­king be­ca­me a hi­ghly pri­zed ma­te­rial used for ar­ti­stic pur­po­ses, achie­ving its height of splen­dor du­ring the Art Nou­veau pe­riod. Ar­tists in­clu­ding La­li­que, Dam­mou­se and Tiffany sought out the glas­sblo­wers of Mu­ra­no to pro­du­ce their fa­mous works.

As a re­sult of this ex­pe­rien­ce, du­ring the mid-20th cen­tu­ry, real ma­sters of the art be­gan to emer­ge in Mu­ra­no in­clu­ding Si­gno­ret­to, Bal­la­rin, Za­net­ti and Vi­dal. Their works are hi­ghly co­ve­ted ob­jec­ts, true col­lec­tors' items whi­ch are of­ten di­splayed at museums.

Mu­ra­no has nu­me­rous glass fac­to­ries, se­ve­ral of whi­ch boa­st an age-old history (i.e. Ba­ro­vier&To­so) or a li­st of par­ti­cu­lar­ly pre­sti­gious col­la­bo­ra­tions (i.e. Ve­ni­ni). Craf­ting authentic Mu­ra­no glass is no ea­sy ta­sk and does not co­me cheap. Lar­ge ob­jec­ts re­qui­re hours of work, so don't ex­pect to ta­ke your cu­stom-ma­de lamp ho­me on the sa­me day. Fur­ther­mo­re, ea­ch pie­ce is uni­que mea­ning that small im­per­fec­tions are an in­te­gral part of the va­lue of the ob­ject. Fi­nal­ly, the island's glass fac­to­ries are equip­ped to ma­ke sa­fe de­li­ve­ries any­whe­re in the world… ask your con­cier­ge!

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