This paper will discuss how modern glass blowing was influenced by Murano’s glass blowing expertise. Glass blowers all over the world now create original designs and colors, intended for the most demanding public that appreciates Murano glass artistry. Background on Glass Blowing According to Zerwick (1980), ever since the distant past man has given mystical attention to glass, ascribing something supernatural and magical to this translucent material, which is glass. Moreover, glass is also considered synonymous with beauty.
Gable (2004) said that the beginning of the art of glass blowing in Venice could be traced back before the first millennium. A document written by Domenico called “Fiolario”, a Benedict monk, substantiated this claim. Domenico invented phials for utilization in the home (Zerwick, 1980). The method employed to create the phial was that of blowing into glass utilizing those device that the late Roman glass blowing activities had passed down throughout the ages )Gable, 2004).
It is assumed that afterward the method was improved and perfected in Venice more than anyplace else in Europe as a consequence of the trading contacts that the Venetians had with the Orient and in particular with nations that previously had a prehistoric custom in glass blowing like the Fenici, the Egyptians, and the Syrians (Daumas, 1969). Such customs, rekindled in the renowned furnaces of Islam, were an event to rebuild both Oriental and Western knowledge and techniques in this manner providing the Venetian production a particularness that made their glass extremely all over the world during the course of centuries.
Nowadays, Venetian glass production is considered to be at its peak, and is famous around the world for its form and quality. Murano Glass Blowing Toso (2000) claimed that Murano has constantly been a secretive island and even though it is merely a five-minute vaporetto ride from the center of Venice, it is still secretive and remains a mystery even to Venetians. Murano regarded as a key glass center all through the centuries, has over 250 glass furnaces, a lot of them run by two to five artisans. Furthermore, less than 20 furnaces have over 50 workers.
At present, the process is still similar aside from the fact that the furnaces are heated by natural gas instead of wood, and the ingredients are derived from various areas (Heiremans, 1997). Ever since the Middle Ages, the instruments themselves have been unchanged for centuries. Customarily, glassblowing in Murano more expensive compared to Indian, Czech or Chinese. Murano Net said that it is because of the fact that the Venetians were the first to create clear glass and the Venetians, being considered as master traders, sold the glass all over the world from the days of Marco Polo.
Most importantly, the artistry and style of Venetian glass has remained upholding and preserving its reputation, status and value around the world. According to Gabbiani, fear of fire moved Venetian glassmaking to Murano, where several of the factories still operate at present (Shanghai Daily News, 2005). Gabbiani added that during the period of the Venetian Republic, the Doge of Venice conferred special privileges to the Muranesi. In fact they had their own Golden Book that contained the list of the most significant families, establishing a local hierarchy that still remains although informally nowadays.
Venetians were guaranteed control of the marketplace because they made sure that the glassmakers are kept cloistered on the island, swearing them to secrecy and giving them titles of nobility and riches. As maintained by Gable (2004), due to the decision of the Doge and affirmed by Doge Tiepolo in the year 1291, the island of Murano was proclaimed a suitable and real industrial area and almost immediately turned out to be considered as the center of glass production in the whole world.
The Doge was acted for by a leader and sided by a famous council dubbed as Arengo, amongst the different opportunities they were offered was the supposed “Libro d’Oro” or golden book where the names of the most significant families were listed (Gable, 2004). According to Murano Art Glass, in addition, the image of the “oselle” or the preservation of the icon or symbol (the rooster carrying a fox on it’s back and a serpent in it’s beak) is the amazing recognition that the families of Murano shared with the nobility of Venice.
The similarity between Murano and Venice is intriguingly viewed in the morphology of the two cities, which offers similar streets, public squares, internal canals and even similar “Grand Canal” that runs through it (Zerwick, 1980). Just like in the past, Murano glassworks today are normally somewhat small and frequently, in Murano people encounter an incident, which was real in the days of Giuseppe Briati or Angelo Barovier and that is the most prominent names consequent to an organization of more artisans where the workers are specially selected.
Murano Art Glass said that the team is basically that of the piazza working around the craftsman and the master who, seated at his stool dubbed as “scagno” and aided by one or more servants takes the glass at its malleable “pastoso”. The excellent quality of the creation, in addition to the validity of design and purity of material, depends basically in the manual skill and ability of the craftsman. Numerous rooms are allotted for machines working, while the master and his helpers take part in all stages of the glass modeling in order that when they bring a glass object to the dealer, it is by now in its perfect form.
Therefore, Murano glassmaking is regarded to be on a level of elite or best craftsmanship, that is a manual creation, in short cycle, of formally and technically perfected objects (Murano Net). Certainly, the most proficient and skilled masters are requested to replicate antique patterns, which are considered classics already, and they carry it out successfully, continuing a thousand-year-old technological patrimony (Heiremans, 1997).
Gable (2004) said that the exploration for innovative and latest technical solutions by the technicians of masterpieces and the master craftsmen continue relentlessly, although the latter together with the designers are developing and perfecting new kinds and new figures and decorations. According to Toso (2000), it is a soda lime crystal glass mainly suitable for blowing extremely thin-walled glass vessels and for the excellent workmanship in which the Murano craftsmen stand out.
Next to the pure crystals there are likewise colored a number of which are definite favorites with the glassmakers, for instance, the aquamarine called as “acquamarina,” a glass with the blue-green color of the sea, and the ruby red or “rosso rubino,” that is acquired by means of adding a gold solution to the glass mixture (Toso, 2000). Amongst the opaque glass pastes, “calcedonio” or the chalcedony resembling zoned agate, and “avventurina” or “aventurine” that include thick golden flakes in the body of the glass, are exceptional for their worth and the intricacy of their completion (Toso, 2000).