Venetian Glass Artisan: Dino Martens
inFebruary 1, 2008 - 8:27am
As you might have noticed, we have fallen in love with Venetian/Murano glass. Venetians have a very rich history of creating some of the most treasured glass pieces and techniques in the history of the world. The island of Murano became the center of Venetian glass making in the year 1291 when officials ordered all of the glass makers out of Venice as a precaution so the furnaces would not start catastrophic fires. From the Middle Ages to the 17th Century, Murano glass was celebrated worldwide because of its superb design and technical innovation, which resulted from collaboration between designers and master glass blowers.
Murano glass makers were so well regarded because they developed or refined technologies such as crystalline glass, enameled glass (smalto), glass with threads of gold (aventurine), multicolored glass (millefiore), opaline glass (lead powder blown in), and milk glass (lattimo). For many years they were the worlds only craftsmen who could create mirrors.
The glass industry in Venice fell into decline in the early 19th Century because the city was occupied by Austria. It was not until the 20th. Century that Murano resumed world leadership in glass design.
There were many wonderful glass designers working in Murano in the early and mid 20th century. Over the next few weeks I will be blogging about several of the best. To kick off this series I had no choice but to feature my favorite; Dino Martens. I think the reason Dino stands out as our favorite is that his work is so whimsical and fun. If you want to read more and see many fabulous photos of his work there is a great book by Marc Heiremans simply titled Dino Martens. We have it and it is wonderful.
Brief Bio: Painter and designer. Born in Venice, he attended the Accademia di Belle Arti. In the mid Twenties he moved to Murano, where for a short time he was a partner and decorator for the glass factory S.A.L.I.R. Later he worked as a designer for Salviati & C. and the Successori Andrea Rioda. He exhibited his paintings in the Novecento style at the Biennale di Venezia between 1924 and 1930. Upon his return from the African War in 1939, he became artistic director of the glass factory Aureliano Toso. From 1946 to 1960 Martens designed an incredible series of works for Toso, using traditional Venetian techniques, he was able to obtain strikingly original polychrome effects, combined with particularly daring asymmetric shapes and a marked difficulty of execution including the compositions of glass rods called Zanfirici, the colorful pieces composed with irregular shadings, and inserts of avventurina and rods of filigrana called Oriente and the unusual shapes of the Sommersi with the outside surface battuta and the inside cased with polychrome glass. His collaboration with the Aureliano Toso ended in 1963.
Ed Sexton Swank Lighting
Swank Lighting Blog http://swanklighting.com/blog/blog/