This post comes to us from Jenny Haskins, Curatorial Intern
Glassblowing was always a fascinating and curious medium to me. The ability to create delicate three-dimensional forms through rugged heating and cooling processes is attractively foreign. Glass is a material used on a daily basis throughout the world, however, it is moving beyond the realm of strictly functional objects and becoming increasingly understood and appreciated as fine art. Lino Tagliapietra is a contemporary glass artist currently featured in a Davis Gallery Exhibition, A Joint Venture: The Collection of Thomas and Kathryn Cox. He produces his work in series usually based on famous landmarks or cities he has visited. Dinosaur, in the Cox Collection, is a black-striped organic form mixing rigid and smooth textures. It belongs to a series of work inspired by marine animals, depicting organic forms with long necks extending from oval cores. In the artist’s words, this series integrates “the strength of the dinosaur with the fluidity of the fishes that inhabit the waters of Venice.” I found its presence here at the NBMAA to be a great opportunity to explore the world of glass art and become more familiar with one of its best known artists.
Tagliapietra was born in Murano, Italy in 1934 where he apprenticed under internationally known Muranese master, Archimede Seguso (1909-1999), beginning at the age of eleven. By 21, he earned the title: maestro vetraio (master glassblower), and continued to work in the finest Muranese glass factories for the next 25 years. Becoming a master glassblower is a painstakingly long experience which requires exposure to a scientific environment for multiple years. The United States does not offer many courses in learning these scientific fundamentals (which may be why I find the medium so foreign), therefore European courses are more ideal. Murano, the glassblowing capital of the world, provides the finest programs to become the master of the craft, not to mention its very artistically inspiring landscapes and scenery. (more…)