Stemmed glass, façon de Venise

Probably France, late 16th century
Mold-blown and heat-formed blown glass
H. 16.4 cm; max. diam. 15.3 cm
Acquired with the support of Michel and Hélène David-Weill, 2001
Inv. 2000.1.1
© Les Arts Décoratifs

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From the second half of the fifteenth century onward, the Venetian glassmakers who had settled on the island of Murano developed a new type of very pure, transparent glass called cristallo (in reference to rock crystal). Thanks to this invention, and to the technical and stylistic innovations that followed, Venetian glassmakers were able to establish themselves economically and to dominate European taste for two centuries. From the sixteenth century onward, the migration of Italian craftsmen throughout Europe gave rise to a new style of glassware called façon de Venise (“Venetian style”); despite evolutions in style, the term is also applicable to seventeenth-century productions. This stemmed glass, exceptional for its size, proportions and state of preservation, is an original example of such glassware. It is related to the Venetian tradition in terms of its pure and delicate material (which resembles Venetian cristallo) and its three-part construction, typical of the stemmed glasses made in Murano in the sixteenth century. One by one, three molten gobs of glass (called “parisons”) were collected on the end of the glassmaker’s tube and blown, then assembled while hot. One was opened into a disc to form the foot; another was blown in a mold with thirteen ribs (in this case) to form the knob in the middle of the stem; the third was shaped to form the bowl which, on this glass, is rounded at its base and opens out into an octagonal shape. A glass thread, twisted once and decorated with grooves made by a wheel, was applied while hot around the lower part of the bowl. Comparison of several of the particular features of this glass – such as the ribbed knob on its stem (sometimes compared to a flattened pumpkin) – with archaeological and iconographic data suggests that it belongs to a group of façon de Venise glasses that were used, and most probably made, in France.

J.-L. O. Geneviève Bresc-Bautier (under the direction of), “Archéologie du Grand Louvre. Le quartier du Louvre au XVIIe siècle),” exhibition catalogue, Paris, Musée du Louvre, Paris, Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 2001
Erwin Baumgartner and Jean-Luc Olivié, “Venise et façon de Venise, verres Renaissance du musée des Arts Décoratifs,” Paris, Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs, 2003, cat. 17, pp. 56-57
Marie-Laure de Rochebrune, “Le verre de Venise et ‘à la façon de Venise’ en France aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles,” Sèvres, no. 13, 2004, pp. 17-32.

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