Glass in 18th Century Venice 1 2 3
At the end of the seventeenth century Venice was still the world's major glass-making centre, as it had been for 400 years. The long-standing splendour of the Serene Republic was declining, however, and Venetian glass, a fading shadow of former glories, was to be surpassed by the products of other glass-making centres before the eighteenth century was out. Nevertheless, the established trade of Venice induced many technical developments and the marketing of many new forms and styles, which reflected the great variety of glass still produced.
At least seven specific forms of Venetian glass were made in the eighteenth century and, while several of these were imitative of earlier production of foreign styles, all are worthy of note. The Muranese craftsmen's ability to evoke both past local and foreign styles stemmed from Murano's long history of development as a glass-making centre, which had enabled them to gradually learn how to manipulate virtually all glass forms. Thus the enamelling and gilding traditions of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries had allowed for experimentation in coloured glass additions and in semi d;or (gold dust within the glass). The resulting freedom of expression, based on the brilliant cristallo metal, tempted extravagance in ornamentation.
Glass Information from The History of Glass by Dan Klein and Ward LLoyd