After almost thirty years, once again the Correr Museum is host to a prestigious exhibition on glass, a continuation, from a diverse angle of the same-named exhibition "The Adventure of Glass", which has just ended at Castello del Buonconsiglio in Trento. While some of the items on display in this great Venetian edition are different, other more important ones have been added in celebration of over a thousand years history of glass in Venice and the Lagoon.
An initiative of Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia
and curated by Aldo Bova and Chiara Squarcina, installation by Daniela Ferretti, open from 11 December 2010 to 25 April 2011 at the Correr Museum, The Adventure of Glass is actually the largest exhibition on this theme since the extensive exhibition in 1982 at the Doge's Palace, Correr Museum and the Glass Museum.
The background to this event is the imminent celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Museum, which was founded in 1861 thanks to Abbot Zanetti, and also in view of the plans foreseen for the expansion in the spaces of the nearby Conterie, in the hope of encouraging more donations of twentieth-century works.
Organised chronologically in four sections archaeological glass, the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries, the nineteenth century and the twentieth century with over three hundred objects on display, all from the collections of the Murano Glass Museum, the great exhibition at the Correr Museum goes back over the entire extraordinary adventure of glass in Venice: from its arrival in the lagoon during the Classical age with glass from distant lands, to the growing union of glass and design that represents both the present and future of glass production on Murano.
With an unprecedented sequence of ancient glass recovered from the lagoon beds and the sand of the city canals, the opening section of the exhibition shows just to what extent glass became an integral part of Venice. Scattered around by chance, these items were either the result of consignments falling into the sea or were simply discarded because they were broken. Extremely fragile masterpieces, often of outstanding craftsmanship, these objects will be on display to the public for the very first time since they were retrieved from the waters where they were preserved for centuries.
This section also includes the archaeological glass that can be identified with the Manca Collection from the Correr Collection, on display here not so much in its function of an "archive of recollection" but rather as objects that inspired what was destined to become a symbolic activity in Venice.
It was these very items that influenced the taste of Venetian glassmakers throughout most of the Golden Age of glass in Venice, from the fourteenth to the entire sixteenth century when Venetian glass was so sought after and copied. This significant period is represented in the exhibition with an extensive series of masterpieces.
This is followed by the development during the seventeenth century that witnessed the successful and ingenious attempts to present glass not in its natural form - but worked with such skill and brilliance that it evoked different materials such as porcelain, not to mention the appearance of chalcedony and aventurine in the workmanship.
The nineteenth century was marked by ambivalence, witnessing first decadence and then a renaissance. The former was aided by the loss of the Venetian Republics political power while the latter was stimulated by the new styles that were sailing through Europe, influencing Venice as well, and by the reflection on its former grandeur; the results were reinterpretations that tended towards the new. It was this very notion, the wish to support this "renaissance" that the Glass Museum was founded.
Lastly, the nineteenth century, in which design influenced and inspired glass production, taking it to new heights where glass was no longer an object to be used but was a work of art, the shapes and colours of which were to be enjoyed and admired.
It is to this novel aspect that the exhibition at the Correr Museum wishes to draw the attention it deserves. For example, this is the very first time that the attempt has been made to reconstruct the twentieth century using the unusual and rare works from Egidio Costantini's Fucina degli Angeli and another from the Carlo and Giovanni Moretti collection. While by no means exhaustive, the objective of this important section is to trace the identifying lines of a century.
The exhibition also includes other items that are connected to the world of glass making: quelli appartenenti alle collezioni private e quella di Panini collections, they range from an extremely rare glass herbarium, to a collection of small glass bead bags.
And the surprises never end during the 2011 Venice Carnival, based on the theme of the nineteenth century a further section will be added to the exhibition with over a hundred items from the Maschietto collection, on display in Venice for the very first time.
These are glass figurines, with Venetian masks and Commedia dellArte costumes, delightful female nudes, costumes and fanciful subjects that, together with a selection of eighteenth century drawings of Carnival from the Correr collections will be on display in one of the lavish rooms on the first floor in Correr Museum (from the first week of February 2011).