Our weekend in Venice was amazing; it was filled with striking architecture, amazing landscapes, and hundreds of shops. I was able to admire, at a distance, countless sculptures and paintings created by artists hundreds of years ago. However, what caught my attention most was not the intricately designed ceilings plastered with gold byzantine icons and ornamented with hanging candles, or the beyond life size marble sculptures. Though it is amazing to look at art work made by historical artists, nothing compares to the modern day artist; the artist we were able to watch in his own environment, create before our very eyes a beautiful masterpiece, the “Maestro” of Murano.
Murano glass is the longest lasting center for glass making in history, dating all the way back to before the first millennium. It was during the Renaissance when Venetians first became recognized for their specialized glass blowing techniques. Despite bouts of great success, and periods of near extinction, Murano glass has survived and flourishes today as a renowned showcase of traditional glass making. (http://www.thehistoryof.net/history-of-glass-blowing-in-Murano.html November 2, 2011)
Walking into the glass blowing room, I noticed nothing special; in fact it seemed a little run down with broken pieces of glass peppered throughout the room, and a huge furnace aged, not so gracefully, with time. There was an old man sitting in the corner, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, the best way to describe him was simply…simple. It wasn’t until a few minutes later, when I learned of his incredible talents and abilities achieved by dedicating his entire life to glass blowing. I would never have imagined such a modest old man, making such elaborate and ornate pieces of art that sell for thousands of Euros. I found it amazing, and almost magical, to see the Maestro so effortlessly pull the shape of a horse out of the molten glass right in front of my eyes. He fashioned and twisted the glass so gracefully, and within minutes a perfect figure of a reared up horse sat before me. What is even more mind-blowing for me was that this little sculpture was elementary for the Maestro, it didn’t even compare to the marvelous pieces of art we would soon see. I think society today, myself included, imagines artists who create such works or art as being young, exalted, and powerful beings. However, something should be said for the simple, despite their humble exterior, the works they can create speak marvels.
The expertise and mastery perfected over the years demands recognition and value, the history is fascinating, and the pieces of art deriving from it are even more incredible. After experiencing firsthand the workings of Murano, nothing can compare to it.