Fantastic Creatures of the Venetian Lagoon: Glass 1875-1915
February 23, 2024 — August 18, 2024
Glass Projects Space
Dizzying opulence and fanciful ornamentation outshine craftsmanship and technique in this exhibition of 50 masterpieces of Italian glass from the permanent collection of the Chrysler Museum of Art.
At the turn of the twentieth century, Venetian glassmakers adorned blown glass vessels with fabulous beasts sculpted from hot glass and dusted with gold, dazzling the senses. Dragons, dolphins, seahorses, pegasi, swans, and serpents creep around vase necks, twine up goblet stems, and perch atop bowl rims.
Marvelous to behold, these fantastical creatures attest to both their makers’ imagination and virtuosity and represent a stunning revival of the Venetian glass industry. When glassmaking in Venice reemerged in the 1860s after a half-century of domination and economic suppression by foreign powers, an atmosphere of creativity and friendly competition arose among Venetian glass companies, including firms like Artisti Barovier, Fratelli Toso, and Salviati & C. The result was increasingly inventive and fantastical blown glass creations: the more elaborate, complicated, and bizarre, the better!
This exhibition is organized by the Chrysler Museum of Art, and is possible thanks to a generous gift of glass from Mrs. Marjorie Reed Gordon.