Maestro in Murano- Art journal #3

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.

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4 Responses to Maestro in Murano- Art journal #3

  1. Angela Dancik says:

    Alyson, I completely agree with your experience of the Murano glass! I thought the same thing walking into that factory, this run-down looking furnace with some old guy who does this ‘hobby’ now that he was retired or something. I couldn’t believe when, in like 10 short minutes, he was able to sculpt one of the most beautiful pieces of art I’ve ever seen! The ‘Maestro’ as you referred to him, was an artist keeping the tradition and trade of his family alive, and I am forever thankful for it. I loved that this kind of glass-work can only be found in Venice, and although it’s kind of pricey, I think the end product is well worth the money. All of the rooms Niccola showed us were unbelievable, it was hard to imagine that all those chandeliers and sculptures started out as simple sand. I also agree with what you said about the Maestro being so humble with his talent. He didn’t gloat or brag about how quick and easy it was for him to make that horse, and you can tell he really takes pride in what he creates. I was happy that we were able to see one of the major things Venice is known for, besides the gondolas and San Marcos. It was definitely an interesting experience! Thanks for writing about it 🙂

  2. sarahsliman says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more Alyson. I really appreciate the historical artwork that we have seen thus far on our travels, however, watching modern art take place right in front of my eyes was the most I’ve gotten out of any of the artwork I’ve seen. I’ve gained such an appreciation and respect for modern day art after seeing the Maestro at work. The seemingly effortless glass blowing skills was mind blowing and the finished products in which we saw all around the studio made me feel like I was in a ‘glass heaven’. I think the elaborate colors used in each piece were so captivating and beautiful, for me personally, I have a much stronger love for modern day art such as this than any other art out there–I love the bright colors and the unique sculptures that we were able to see through the halls.

    I loved the way you described the Maestro, a true artist, yet so simple. He seemed so humble and nonchalant about his impeccable gift. You could tell he truly loved what he did, and he was amazing at it. The family business of glass blowing was being handed down from generation to generation, and that to me is an art in and of itself. Family’s that are passionate and driven with their profession are true successes. And this family was definitely masters at their artwork, great choice of art Alyson!

  3. Your competing visions of what an artist should look like are interesting and compelling, Alyson…

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