Muranos glassmakers led Europe for centuries, developing or refining many technologies including crystalline glass, enamelled glass (smalto), glass with threads of gold (aventurine), multicolored glass (millefiori), milk glass (lattimo), and imitation gemstones made of glass. Today, the artisans of Murano are still employing these centuries-old techniques, crafting everything from contemporary art glass and glass figurines to Murano glass chandeliers and wine stoppers, as well as tourist souvenirs. Today, Murano is home to a vast number of factories and a few individual artists' studios making all manner of glass objects from mass marketed stemware to original sculpture. The Museo del Vetro (Glass Museum) in the Palazzo Giustinian houses displays on the history of glassmaking as well as glass samples ranging from Egyptian times through the present day.
Located 1.5 km (0.93 mi) from the main city Venice, Italy, Murano has been a commercial port since as far back as the 7th century. It is believed that glassmaking in Murano originated in 8th-century Rome, with significant Asian and Muslim influences, as Venice was a major trading port. Murano glass is similar to the 1st-century BC Greek glasses found in the shipwreck of Antikythera. Muranos reputation as a center for glassmaking was born when the Venetian Republic, fearing fire and destruction of the citys mostly wooden buildings, ordered glassmakers to move their foundries to Murano in 1291. Murano glass is the largest proportion of Venetian glass.Murano's glassmakers were soon the islands most prominent citizens. By the 14th century, glassmakers were allowed to wear swords, enjoyed immunity from prosecution by the Venetian state, and their daughters permitted to marry into Venices most affluent families. Marriage between glass master and the daughter of the nobleman wasn't regarded as misalliance. However glassmakers were not allowed to leave the Republic. Exportation of professional secret was punished by death.
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.
French revolutionary armies occupied Murano in 1797. Murano glass was produced in great quantities in the 1950s and 1960s for export and for tourists. Conditioned by the gusto of recovery and revival which had decreed the nineteenth century re-launching, modern glass-making on Murano was born relatively late on, that is, in the first years of the century while it gave original results only in the second decade at the time when the great foreign Art Nouveau glass-makers had already given their best works.
In the first twenty years of this century the glass of modern style was produced at Murano quite discontinuously, for the most part on the occasion of the Venice Biennale exhibitions and of the Fondazione Bevilacqua la Masa at Ca Pesaro. Only in the immediate post-war period did the factories begin a normal production of non-traditional models which often constituted the development of attempts made in previous years. In the 1920s Muranese glass-making positively felt the changes which had taken place in the international artistic world to a greater extent than had been the case in the pre-war period. In the 1930s and 1940s we have the happy union to Art Deco, with its preciosity and decorative fancies. The handicraft of production which will continue to characterize the Muranese glass-works in the 30s and 40s in such a way that at the dour Biennale of 1942, invaded by praise of war, the Murano glass constituted a vivacious and almost anachronistic note.
Having come out from the nightmare of the dictatorship and the war, those who operated in the interior decorating sector took up activity once again with enthusiasm, nevertheless showing themselves divided between the desire to renew themselves on the bases of rationalist principles and the continuous and inevitable reference to the experiences of the 1930s. The modern furniture market was covered almost completely by Swedish production for the whole of the 1950s. The rationalists produced furnishing objects which were practical and simple, even programmatically modest. The rationalist instances were generally ignored in Murano, while the attempt was made to stylistically renew the product. In this way the glass-makers, exploiting traditional manual techniques, shaped vases in elementary forms, often square, in bright and provocative colors, with schematic motifs, sometimes geometrical whilst others were inspired by abstract painting.
This was an exasperated and provocative affirmation of modernity which, shortly after, would be resolved in more meditated ways. Some of Murano's historical glass factories remain well known brands today, amongst them De Biasi, Gabbiani, Venini, Salviati, Barovier & Toso, Pauly, Berengo Studio, Seguso, Formia International, Simone Cenedese, Alessandro Mandruzzato, Vetreria Ducale, Estevan Rossetto 1950 and many others. The oldest glass factory is Antica Vetreria Fratelli Toso, founded in 1854.
Overall, the industry has been shrinking as demand has waned. Imitation works (easily recognizable by experts but not by the common client) from Asia and Eastern Europe take an estimated 40% - 45% of the market for Murano glass, and public tastes have changed while the designs in Murano have largely stayed the same.Due to these factors, as well as the difficult and low-paying nature of the work, the number of professional glassmakers in Murano has decreased from about 6000 in 1990 to fewer than 1000 today. The other raw materials, called flux or melting agents, soften at lower temperatures. The more sodium oxide 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 (to make the glass surface opaque), nitrate and arsenic (to eliminate bubbles) and coloring or opacifying substances. The Murano glass is made up of 70% silica sand, added to a 30% of other substances called fluxes and "stabilizers" (soda and lime). These added fluxes allows the glass to be melted at a lower temperature, and the "stabilizers" prevent the glass's solubility in water. When the glass melts at a lower temperature, it is possible to create homogeneous and bubble free Murano glass. The Murano glass in its basic composition is colorless. The colors are obtained by adding small amounts of minerals, oxides, and chemical derivatives to the base composition of the glass powder. This is the Murano magic that creates infinite combinations of transparent colors, crayons and alabasters. Colors, techniques and materials vary depending upon the look a glassmaker is trying to achieve. Aquamarine is created through the use of copper and cobalt compounds, whereas ruby red uses a gold solution as a coloring agent. Murrine technique begins with the layering of colored liquid glass, which is then stretched into long rods called canes (see caneworking). 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 (a type of caneworking), glass engraving, gold engraving, incalmo, lattimo, painted enamel, ribbed glass and submersion are just a few of the other techniques a glassmaker can employ. "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 a gather of colored glass into another molten glass and then blowing the gather into the desired shape; the outermost layer, or casing, is often clear. Sommerso was 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. 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). The tools for glass-blowing have changed little over the centuries and remain simple. An old Murano saying goes "Good tools are nice, but good hands are better, " reinforcing the artistic nature of the glass-making process, which relies on the skill of the worker rather than the use of special tools. The item "Murano Art Glass Venetian CenterPiece Large Folded Rim Bowl" is in sale since Tuesday, April 04, 2017. This item is in the category "Pottery & Glass\Glass\Art Glass\Italian". The seller is "1kul57" and is located in Laurel, Maryland. This item can be shipped to North, South, or Latin America, all countries in Europe, all countries in continental Asia, Australia, South africa, New Zealand.