Reflets de Venise
16th and 17th Century Glass in Swiss Collections
31 May – 1 November 2015
In the Renaissance and Baroque period, glass objects produced either in Venice itself or, modelled on these Venetian pieces, in other places (façon de Venise)were considered the most beautiful and precious of their time. They were marked out for the art collections and the cabinets of curiosities of royalty, the aristocracy and the rich bourgeoisie. Thanks to fortunate circumstances, some have survived to this day here in Switzerland. This exhibition brings together for the first time the most important of these objects to be found in the possession of Swiss museums and private collections.
The two hundred pieces on display demonstrate the incomparable variety and virtuosity of Venetian glass art and its influence on the other centres of production throughout the whole of Europe. Glass objects for many different uses and in the most diverse forms are presented, in a sequence dating from the end of the 15th century to the beginning of the 18th. In addition, hundreds of fragments of glasses of this type, discovered in numerous archaeological excavations in Switzerland, are brought together in one place for the first time, and illustrate the kinds of Venetian or façon de Venise glasses that were in use here. And not just that: excavations of glassworks in the Jura have furnished spectacular proof that what for a long time was regarded as Venetian glass was in fact also produced here in Switzerland – and this despite the legendary determination of Venice to keep its composition and sophisticated production techniques secret.
Remarkable Documentary Films on Production Techniques
The Vitromusée has enlisted the expertise of William Gudenrath, glass blower and glass historian at the Corning Museum of Glass (USA), for the exhibition. In several films, Gudenrath - a specialist in the historical procedures of Venetian glass production – can be seen demonstrating how certain pieces on display would have been made.
5 – 6 September : 10am – 1pm, 2pm – 5pm
The glass blower and glass historian William Gudenrath (USA) invites you to join him as he demonstrates the historical techniques of glassblowing à la façon de Venise.
Guided Tour by the Curator of the Exhibition
5 September : 5 pm
Erwin Baumgartner, curator of the exhibition, guides you through the fascinating world of Venetian glass.