Reflected art: the Venetian mirror and the 7 passages to made itEven today the expertise and inventiveness of Murano glass artists emerge in all the fundamental passages needed to create these extraordinary handmade objects, the venetian mirrors.
The mirror, always a suggestive element
Jim Morrison said, "Remember that life is like a mirror, it smiles you if you look at her smiling."Roman Price, founder of social motivational LifePulp, wrote: "If you’re searching for that one person who will change your life, take a look in the mirror".
From aphorisms to cinema, from poetry to animated design classics, from music to everyday life, the mirror crosses our path in many situations. It is a useful object but has always been a decorative element of great importance in the aesthetics of a home, a palace or an office as well.
History of Venetian Mirror: from its origins to Versailles, to the present day
The Venetian mirror, one of the most renowned branches of Murano glassware tradition, adds to the usefulness and sense of taste all the value of a multi-century tradition that has been refining over time without ever betraying the fundamental principles from which it had departed.
After a first production dated 1369, the Venetian mirror knows two fundamental moments in its phase of young development: the introduction of crystal glass in the middle of the fifteenth century, thanks to the inventor of Angelo Barovier; and the definition of an effective and functional process of polishing of glass plates, by Vincenzo Redor in 1540, which brings this reflective object to be a real marvel of the sixteenth-century design
From that moment on, artisans and artists involved in the creation of mirrors have consolidated their fame internationally, taking on a prominent role within the Serenissima. An example is the case of Gerolamo Barbin, born in 1661, who, enticed by the Minister of Finance Jean-Baptiste Colbert, went along with some of his colleagues in Louis XIV France, despite the restrictions of the Republic of Venice about the exportation of this kind of precious knowledge. There he worked for a few years at theManufacturing Royale des glaces de miroirs, in the Parisian district of Saint Antonine, even coming to work at Mirror Gallery in Versailles. Expressed the desire to repatriate, thanks to his unique ability and creativity he obtained the approval of Venice and resumed his production in the lagoon.
How is the Venetian mirror realized? Here, the 7 key steps
Even today the expertise and inventiveness of Murano artists emerge in all the fundamental passages needed to create these extraordinary handmade objects.
As a preliminary operation, there is the design of the mirror, based on the measurements and the study of the "light", the arrangement of the glass parts which will then, in their reciprocal matching, compose the mirror as if it were a puzzle or a mosaic. Unlike jigsaw puzzles and mosaics, however, the Venetian mirror usually does not consist of many small fragments, but of a small number of marginal sections that go to form the perimeter of a broader reflective surface.
Is then made a wooden structure, a support of dimensions suitable to accommodate both the mirror that is being prepared and the frames that will accompany it.
Once the glass plate has been cut to the desired size,the surface is wisely engraved with the most varied decorations, from floral textures to bucolic scenes of Renaissance taste, from miniatures of static or moving animals to representations of mithological events or characters.
Silver is then poured on the plate: this is an extremely delicate procedure, in which the skill of the craftsman has the task of not letting impurities and spreading a silvery veil of homogeneous thickness.
If required, is performed an aging chemical treatment based on specific compositions capable of giving the mirror all the charm of vintage taste.
The mirrors are then placed inside frames often very elaborate (almost a work of art in a work of art), laminated in gold or silver and fastened with nails with covered top in glass.
Venetian mirrors can be completed with the grafting of crystal decorations along the margins, additional elements that can further embellish an already-effective creation itself. These crystal sculptures are made in muranese furnaces, generally represent floral subjects such as leaves, flowers or little branches, and have carefully selected colors (by designers, mirror artisans or customers) in order to create chromatic effects of refined taste.