FRAGILE – MURANO
UNDER THE HIGH PATRONAGE OF THE CITY OF VENICE
MURANO – FRAGILE
AT THE MUSÉE MAILLOL
27 MARCH 2013 > 28 JULY 2013
A unique exhibition
Murano: while the name of this charming Venetian island immediately evokes the art of glass-making, the glut of tourist produce filling the souvenir shops means that it is easy to forget the precious skills nurtured in the workshops here and the quality and splendour of the objects produced over the centuries.
For the first time in France, an exhibition will chronicle the extraordinary adventure of glass in Murano, retracing seven centuries of intense creativity, from the mid-15th century to the present day. It will feature over two hundred pieces, many never or only rarely exhibited, obtained from public institutions or jealously guarded private collections.
The exhibition will follow the history of the great glassworks with a selection of the finest objects made for the great families and European courts of the Renaissance – the Estes, Gonzagas and Medici –, extravagant Baroque creations and pieces from the 18th century, through to the Art Deco of the 1920s and the modernism of the 1950s, all the way to contemporary works by the Studio Glass movement, which takes glass as its sole mode of expression.
A special section focuses on the international artists who have come to Murano since the 1950s to work with the master glassmakers and experiment with glass as a privileged creative material. After Arp, César and Fontana in decades past, this tradition is now even stronger than ever: witness the “Glasstress” exhibition when, in parallel to the last two Venice Biennales, new creations by Hatoum, Othoniel, Pérez, the Recycle Group, Schütte, Shen Yuan and Wilson have been brought together at the Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti.
Centuries of history
Drawing on the heritage of Rome, glassmaking began to appear on the lagoon in around the 10th century but really gained momentum in the 12th, growing into Venice’s second most important industry after the shipbuilding in the Arsenale. It was transferred to Murano, probably because of the fire risks involved, but also in order to more effectively control the master glassmakers, who were subject to draconian rules: they were not allowed to leave Venice or to export their technique, on pain of death.
Byzantine glass reigned supreme in Europe until the mid-15th century. However, the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453 caused many master glassmakers to take refuge in Venice. Murano now moved its productions towards luxury in order to satisfy the European aristocracy.
The Renaissance is one of the historical high points for Venetian glass. Murano dominated glass production up to the end of the 17th century, which saw the beginning of a relative decline.
Still, other golden ages awaited the glass workshops: in the mid-19th century, the 1920s, and the early 1950s. Today, artists from all around the world come to work with the master glassmakers to produce pieces embodying an excellence founded on centuries of tradition.
A chronological sequence
The exhibition will be presented in a chronological sequence, offering an immediate sense of the main technical and stylistic developments. Alongside the often spectacular masterpieces groups of glasses, decanters, centrepieces, precious objects and pieces of furniture in glass paste illustrate the tastes and fashions of each period. They evoke the history of glassmaking and design in Venice, and, more generally, that of the decorative arts and tableware in Europe. Showcased by Hubert Le Gall’s exhibition design, this rich collection of works reveals the different techniques, the know-how and the inexhaustible creativity of these master glassmakers whose talent is dedicated to beauty in both the everyday and the exceptional.
open daily, 10.30–19.00 (Friday to 21.30)
Price: 11 euros – Concessions: 9 euros – Free for children under 11
reservation essential for groups of 10 or more.
Information and reservations: T.0142222544 / firstname.lastname@example.org
The museum can be hired outside opening times Information and rates: T.0142225725 / email@example.com
RESTAURANT – TEAROOM
Mediterranean cuisine Open daily, 10.30–18.00 (17.00 Sunday) and Friday on the evening.
Information and reservations: 01 42 22 27 77 / contact@museemaillol
Duration: 1h30 (exhibition + workshop + tea) For children aged 7 to 11. Price: 18 euros
From april 3rd to july 24th 2013
Every Wednesday from 3 to 4.30 pm
Every Saturday from 11 am to 12.30 pm
School holidays: please enquire
Maximum capacity: 12 children per workshop Reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org