The oldest glass-making technique is the free shaping manual. Many molds were used but the real revolution was represented by the “blowpipe”, founded on the strength of the man’s lungs.
The Venetian production began with everyday objects: bottles for oil or wine, made by the so-called “fioleri”, as well as cups, plates and window glass.
In the main furnace glass is processed at very high temperatures: form incandescent white to red, to be blown or formed, welded.
The â€śserventinâ€ť pulls the â€śbolusâ€ť out from the molten glass, while working the globe, like a bubble, is the “masterâ€™s” job, using simple tools and clever manipulations, assisted by the “servente”. It is the job of the â€śgarzonettoâ€ť to keep the objects at the appropriate temperature and clean the blowpipes.
The colors are due to the oxides and metal salts used during melting. While polychromes are obtained by adding rods, blocks and wires of various colors that are welded for recasting.
Until the end of the thirteenth century Venetians produced stained glass and gold for mosaics and distinguished themselves in the technique of painting in â€śthe ovenâ€ť. The glass art reached splendor with the decoration of painted polychrome enamel in the fifteenth century, with simple shapes that imitated those of majolica and silverware; the glass was colored green, blue and red.
By the mid-sixteenth century enamel painting was replaced by a â€ścoldâ€ť method, where the glass returned to have its merits for the form rather than for the painted decoration. They produced filigree glass, â€śmillefioriâ€ť and â€śall’avventurinaâ€ť.
The seventeenth century was also a golden age for the Murano glass. Although the power of the Venetian glass came into contrast with the thick and shiny potassium carbonate glass, of the Germans and Bohemians, or flint glass, lead carbonate from the British, who in 1750 began to dominate the market because of its low cost.
The chemical ingenuity and beauty of Venetian glassmakers created forms and fashions: the “lock”, the classic Murano chandelier, a chandelier decorated with glass flowers, the “dessert”, a baroque centerpiece.
Late eighteenth and the early nineteenth century characterized the decline of the Venetian Republic but the Murano glass industry, lived a new shot of life: the rediscovery of the chalcedony, the technique of the â€śmillefioriâ€ť Roman enamel decoration and not least the precious work of ‘Abbot Vincenza Zanetti who established the Museum of Glass in Murano in 1861 and a year later the adjacent School of Design for glaziers.
The Murano glass in the twentieth century combines the ideal blend of master craftsmen and designers.
Between tradition and innovation, up to the present day, with the institution of Consorzio Venezia Glass in 1975 and, years later, the opening of the section devoted to modern and contemporary forms at the Museum of Glass in Murano.