Murano glass
Overview
 
Murano glass is a famous product of the Venetian island of Murano
Murano
Murano is a series of islands linked by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy. It lies about 1.5 km north of Venice and measures about across with a population of just over 5,000 . It is famous for its glass making, particularly lampworking...

. Located off the shore of Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, Italy, Murano has been a commercial port as far back as the 7th century. By the 10th century, the city had become well known for its glassmakers, who created unique Murano glass. While Murano glassmakers have settled and operate elsewhere, some say authentic Murano glass is fabricated only in Murano.
It is believed that glassmaking in Murano originated in 9th century Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, with significant Asian and Muslim influences, as Venice was a major trading port.
Encyclopedia
Murano glass is a famous product of the Venetian island of Murano
Murano
Murano is a series of islands linked by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy. It lies about 1.5 km north of Venice and measures about across with a population of just over 5,000 . It is famous for its glass making, particularly lampworking...

. Located off the shore of Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, Italy, Murano has been a commercial port as far back as the 7th century. By the 10th century, the city had become well known for its glassmakers, who created unique Murano glass. While Murano glassmakers have settled and operate elsewhere, some say authentic Murano glass is fabricated only in Murano.

History of Murano glassmaking

It is believed that glassmaking in Murano originated in 9th century Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, with significant Asian and Muslim influences, as Venice was a major trading port. Murano’s reputation as a center for glassmaking was born when the Venetian Republic, fearing fire and destruction of the city’s mostly wooden buildings, ordered glassmakers to move their foundries
Foundry
A foundry is a factory that produces metal castings. Metals are cast into shapes by melting them into a liquid, pouring the metal in a mold, and removing the mold material or casting after the metal has solidified as it cools. The most common metals processed are aluminum and cast iron...

 to Murano in 1291. Murano glass is still interwoven with Venetian glass
Venetian glass
Venetian glass is a type of glass object made in Venice, Italy, primarily on the island of Murano. It is world-renowned for being colourful, elaborate, and skillfully made....

.

Murano's glassmakers were soon the island’s most prominent citizens. By the 14th century, glassmakers were allowed to wear swords, enjoyed immunity from prosecution by the Venetian state, and found their daughters married into Venice’s most affluent families. However glassmakers were not allowed to leave the Republic. Many craftsmen took this risk and set up glass furnaces in surrounding cities and as far afield as England and the Netherlands.

By the end of the 16th century, three thousand of Murano island's seven thousand inhabitants were involved in some way in the glassmaking industry.

Murano’s glassmakers held a monopoly on quality glassmaking for centuries, developing or refining many technologies including crystalline glass
Glass
Glass is an amorphous solid material. Glasses are typically brittle and optically transparent.The most familiar type of glass, used for centuries in windows and drinking vessels, is soda-lime glass, composed of about 75% silica plus Na2O, CaO, and several minor additives...

, enamelled glass (smalto), glass with threads of gold (aventurine), multicoloured glass (millefiori
Millefiori
Millefiori is a glasswork technique which produces distinctive decorative patterns on glassware.The term millefiori is a combination of the Italian words "mille" and "fiori" . Apsley Pellatt was the first to use the term "millefiori", which appeared in the Oxford Dictionary in 1849...

), milk glass (lattimo), and imitation gemstones made of glass. Today, the artisans of Murano are still employing these century-old techniques, crafting everything from contemporary art glass
Art glass
Definitions of art glass can be as complex and contentious as definitions of what constitutes "art" and will inevitably include many refinements and exceptions...

 and glass figurine
Figurine
A figurine is a statuette that represents a human, deity or animal. Figurines may be realistic or iconic, depending on the skill and intention of the creator. The earliest were made of stone or clay...

s to Murano glass chandelier
Chandelier
A chandelier is a branched decorative ceiling-mounted light fixture with two or more arms bearing lights. Chandeliers are often ornate, containing dozens of lamps and complex arrays of glass or crystal prisms to illuminate a room with refracted light...

s and wine stoppers.

Today, Murano is home to a vast number of factories and a few individual artist's studios making all manner of glass objects from mass marketed
Mass marketing
Mass marketing is a market coverage strategy in which a firm decides to ignore market segment differences and go after the whole market with one offer. It is type of marketing of a product to a wide audience. The idea is to broadcast a message that will reach the largest number of people possible...

 stemware
Stemware
Stemware is drinkware that stands on stems above a base. It is usually made from glass, but may be made from ceramics or metals.Stemware includes:* Wine glasses* Champagne flutes* Chalices and goblets...

 to original sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

. The Museo Vetrario (Glass Museum) in the Palazzo Giustinian
Palazzo Giustinian
The Palazzo Giustinian is a palace in Venice, northern Italy, situated in the Dorsoduro district and overlooking the Grand Canal next to Ca' Foscari. It is among the best examples of the late Venetian Gothic. The home was the final residence of Princess Louise Marie Thérèse of France.The edifice...

, which holds displays on the history of glassmaking as well as glass samples ranging from Egyptian times through the present day.

Murano Glass was produced in great quantities in the 1950s and 1960s for export and for tourists.

The art of glassmaking

The process of making Murano glass is rather complex. Most Murano glass art
Glass art
Studio glass or glass sculpture is the modern use of glass as an artistic medium to produce sculptures or three-dimensional artworks. Specific approaches include working glass at room temperature cold working, stained glass, working glass in a torch flame , glass beadmaking, glass casting, glass...

 is made using the lampworking
Lampworking
Lampworking is a type of glasswork that uses a gas fueled torch to melt rods and tubes of clear and colored glass. Once in a molten state, the glass is formed by blowing and shaping with tools and hand movements. It is also known as flameworking or torchworking, as the modern practice no longer...

 technique. The glass is made from silica, which becomes liquid at high temperatures. As the glass passes from a liquid
Liquid
Liquid is one of the three classical states of matter . Like a gas, a liquid is able to flow and take the shape of a container. Some liquids resist compression, while others can be compressed. Unlike a gas, a liquid does not disperse to fill every space of a container, and maintains a fairly...

 to a solid
Solid
Solid is one of the three classical states of matter . It is characterized by structural rigidity and resistance to changes of shape or volume. Unlike a liquid, a solid object does not flow to take on the shape of its container, nor does it expand to fill the entire volume available to it like a...

 state, there is an interval wherein the glass is soft before it hardens completely, allowing the artisan to shape the material.

Murano glass today

Some of the Murano's historical glass factories remain well known brand
Brand
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a "Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers."...

s today, amongst them Venini
Venini
Venini were a British guitar band formed in late 1998. They were formed by guitarist and violinist Russell Senior after his departure from Pulp, and also featured Debbie Lime , Nick Eastwood , Rob Barton , as well as help from Danny Hunt . Charlie Collins of Clock DVA was a part time member on...

, Salviati
Salviati (glassmakers)
A family called Salviati were glass makers and mosaicists in Murano, Venice and also in London, working as the firm Salviati, Jesurum & Co. of 213 Regent Street, London; also as Salviati and Co. and later as the Venice and Murano Glass and Mosaic Company...

, Barovier & Toso
Barovier & Toso
Barovier & Toso is an Italian company that specializes in Venetian glass.The company is one of the oldest family businesses in the world, founded in 1295 as simply Barovier....

, Pauly
Pauly & C. - Compagnia Venezia Murano
Pauly & C. - Compagnia Venezia Murano is a Venetian company that produces glass art, most notably Roman murrine, mosaics and chandeliers.The company was formed in 1919 by a merger of Pauly & C and the Compagnia di Venezia e Murano...

, Seguso, Formia International, Simone Cenedese and many others. The oldest glass factory is Antica Vetreria Fratelli Toso, founded in 1854.

Materials

The other raw materials, called flux
Flux
In the various subfields of physics, there exist two common usages of the term flux, both with rigorous mathematical frameworks.* In the study of transport phenomena , flux is defined as flow per unit area, where flow is the movement of some quantity per time...

 or melting agents, soften at lower temperatures. The more sodium oxide
Sodium oxide
Sodium oxide is a chemical compound with the formula Na2O. It is used in ceramics and glasses, though not in a raw form. Treatment with water affords sodium hydroxide....

 present in the glass, the slower it solidifies. This is important for hand-working because it allows the glassmaker more time to shape the material. The various raw materials that an artisan might add to a glass mixture are sodium
Sodium
Sodium is a chemical element with the symbol Na and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal and is a member of the alkali metals; its only stable isotope is 23Na. It is an abundant element that exists in numerous minerals, most commonly as sodium chloride...

 (to make the glass surface opaque
Opacity (optics)
Opacity is the measure of impenetrability to electromagnetic or other kinds of radiation, especially visible light. In radiative transfer, it describes the absorption and scattering of radiation in a medium, such as a plasma, dielectric, shielding material, glass, etc...

), nitrate
Nitrate
The nitrate ion is a polyatomic ion with the molecular formula NO and a molecular mass of 62.0049 g/mol. It is the conjugate base of nitric acid, consisting of one central nitrogen atom surrounded by three identically-bonded oxygen atoms in a trigonal planar arrangement. The nitrate ion carries a...

 and arsenic
Arsenic
Arsenic is a chemical element with the symbol As, atomic number 33 and relative atomic mass 74.92. Arsenic occurs in many minerals, usually in conjunction with sulfur and metals, and also as a pure elemental crystal. It was first documented by Albertus Magnus in 1250.Arsenic is a metalloid...

 (to eliminate bubbles) and colouring or opacifying substances.

Colors, techniques and materials

Colours, techniques and materials vary depending upon the look a glassmaker is trying to achieve. Aquamarine
Aquamarine (color)
Aquamarine is a color that is a pale bright tint of spring green toned toward cyan. It is named after the mineral aquamarine, a gemstone mainly found in granite rocks...

 is created through the use of copper and cobalt compounds, whereas ruby red
Ruby (color)
Ruby is a color that is a representation of the color of the cut and polished ruby gemstone. The somewhat deeper color of the uncut, unpolished ruby crystal is called rubelite.The first recorded use of ruby as a color name in English was in 1572...

 uses a gold solution as a colouring agent.

Murrine
Murrine
Murrine is an Italian term for colored patterns or images made in a glass cane that are revealed when cut in cross-sections. Murrine can be made in infinite designs—some styles are more familiar, such as millefiore...

technique begins with the layering of colored liquid glass, which is then stretched into long rods called canes (see caneworking
Caneworking
Caneworking is a glassblowing technique that is used to add intricate patterns and stripes to vessels or other blown glass objects.Cane refers to rods of glass with color; these rods can be simple, containing a single color, or they can be complex and contain many strands of multiple colors in...

). When cold, these canes are then sliced in cross-section, which reveals the layered pattern.
The better-known term "millefiori" is a style of murrine that is defined by each layer of molten color being molded into a star, then cooled and layered again. When sliced, this type of murrine has the appearance of many flowers, thus mille- (thousand) fiori (flowers).

Filigree
Filigree
Filigree is a delicate kind of jewellery metalwork made with twisted threads usually of gold and silver or stitching of the same curving motifs. It often suggests lace, and in recent centuries remains popular in Indian and other Asian metalwork, and French from 1660 to the late 19th century...

(a type of caneworking
Caneworking
Caneworking is a glassblowing technique that is used to add intricate patterns and stripes to vessels or other blown glass objects.Cane refers to rods of glass with color; these rods can be simple, containing a single color, or they can be complex and contain many strands of multiple colors in...

), glass engraving
Glass engraving
Glass engraving is a form of decorative glasswork that involves engraving a glass surface or object. It is distinct from glass art in the narrow sense, which refers to moulding and blowing glass....

, gold engraving, incalmo, lattimo, painted enamel, ribbed glass and submersion are just a few of the other techniques a glassmaker can employ.

Sommerso

Sommerso (lit. "submerged" in Italian), or "sunken glasses", is a form of artistic Murano glass that has layers of contrasting colors (typically two), which are formed by dipping the object in molten glass; the outermost layer, or casing, is often clear. Sommerso was first developed in Murano during the late thirties and was made popular by Seguso d'Arte in the fifties. This process is a popular technique for vases, and is sometimes used for sculptures.

Tools

Special tools are essential for Murano artisans to make their glass. Some of these tools include borselle (tongs or pliers used to hand-form the red-hot glass), canna da soffio (blowing pipe), pontello (an iron rod to which the craftsman attaches the object after blowing in order to add final touches), scagno (the glass-master's workbench) and tagianti (large glass-cutting clippers).

In popular culture

In The Sopranos
The Sopranos
The Sopranos is an American television drama series created by David Chase that revolves around the New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano and the difficulties he faces as he tries to balance the often conflicting requirements of his home life and the criminal organization he heads...

episode, "A Hit Is a Hit", Tony Soprano
Tony Soprano
Anthony John "Tony" Soprano, Sr. is an Italian-American fictional character and the protagonist on the HBO television drama series The Sopranos, on which he is portrayed by James Gandolfini. The character was conceived by The Sopranos creator and show runner David Chase, who was also largely...

's neighbor, Jean Cusimano, hosts a dinner party, at which she comments about the Soprano home: "Oh, but that bar with the goombah
Goombah
coommah may refer to* Pronunciation of "compare" in the Neapolitan language or dialect. In the feminine form it becomes "goomah", a mistress or lover...

 Murano glass". Dinner party guest (and Tony's psychiatrist
Psychiatrist
A psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. All psychiatrists are trained in diagnostic evaluation and in psychotherapy...

), Dr. Jennifer Melfi
Jennifer Melfi
Jennifer Melfi, M.D., is a fictional character on the HBO TV series The Sopranos. She is the psychiatrist of Mafia boss Tony Soprano. She is portrayed by Lorraine Bracco.-Character description:...

, responds: "I like Murano glass". This exchange occurred in the context of a larger conversation that addressed the blurred distinctions amongst various socio-economic classes of Italian-Americans and between gangsters and successful professionals.

See also

  • Caneworking
    Caneworking
    Caneworking is a glassblowing technique that is used to add intricate patterns and stripes to vessels or other blown glass objects.Cane refers to rods of glass with color; these rods can be simple, containing a single color, or they can be complex and contain many strands of multiple colors in...

  • Glass
    Glass
    Glass is an amorphous solid material. Glasses are typically brittle and optically transparent.The most familiar type of glass, used for centuries in windows and drinking vessels, is soda-lime glass, composed of about 75% silica plus Na2O, CaO, and several minor additives...

  • Glassblowing
    Glassblowing
    Glassblowing is a glassforming technique that involves inflating molten glass into a bubble, or parison, with the aid of a blowpipe, or blow tube...

  • Murano Beads
    Murano beads
    Murano beads are intricate glass beads influenced by Venetian glass artists.Since 1291, the Murano glassmakers have refined technologies such as crystalline glass, enamelled glass , glass with threads of gold , multicoloured glass , milk glass and imitation gemstones made of glass producing beads...

  • Murrine
    Murrine
    Murrine is an Italian term for colored patterns or images made in a glass cane that are revealed when cut in cross-sections. Murrine can be made in infinite designs—some styles are more familiar, such as millefiore...

  • Venetian glass
    Venetian glass
    Venetian glass is a type of glass object made in Venice, Italy, primarily on the island of Murano. It is world-renowned for being colourful, elaborate, and skillfully made....


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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