The Modern Murano Glassmaker: Alessandro Barbaro
Our collection of glass sculptures are rather extraordinary, characterful and exceptionally skillful pieces. A selection are designed after Picasso, and take inspiration from his cubism and surrealism. Additionally, we have several equestrian sculptures and a spectacular leaping salmon.
Alessandro Barbaro is Master Glassmaker at the Vetreria Artistica Colleoni on the island of Murano. He has been working with glass for almost 40 years and is an extremely experienced and skilled craftsman. He tends to create very sculptural pieces, exploring the potentials of colour and form and is well known for his animal, and other large scale, sculptures. Barbaro’s extraordinary ability to convey movement and passion in such a brittle, lifeless form results in extremely striking and enigmatic pieces. Having produced works for The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, both The Regina and Europa in Venice, and for middle eastern royalty, Elton John and Madonna, it is clear that Murano glass continues to reign supreme.
Below are some of our collection, available now. Click on the images to find out more:
History of Murano Glass
Murano, an island just off Venice, has a long and established history of glassmaking. Glass was manufactured and used by the Romans, and following the influence of the Byzantine Empire and increased trade with the East, Venice became the centre of glass production. Murano experienced its golden age of glass production during the late medieval and renaissance period. During the 13th century the Glassmakers Guild was established, and by the end of the century it was illegal to purchase foreign glassware, to employ a foreign glassmaker or for glassmakers to leave the city. It is clear that glassmaking was hugely important to the Venetian economy and shows that there was a genuine fear that the circulation of trade secrets would compromise their production. By the 15th and 16th centuries, technical innovations meant that Venice continued to be producers of the finest glass in the world. Clear, cristallo, glass and the use of enamel, gilding and filigrana, glass were all developed and refined during this period. In London, you can see many surviving examples of this early glass production in the V&A, the Wallace Collection and the British Museum.
From the 17th century, Venice’s declining political importance affected the popularity of its glassware. Whilst production continued, it was not really until the beginning of the 20th century that Murano glass achieved its status once again. Today, Venetian glass remains world renowned and is highly collectible, incredibly varied and continues to be hand made by masters of the craft, one of whom is Alessandro Barbaro.