Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lino Tagliapietra, Master of the Glass

(Venice, Italy) Lino Tagliapietra thinks in glass; his thoughts are beautiful and complex, and we have the great privilege of seeing those thoughts solidified in a material sent down from the heavens by the gods themselves. There was not even room to stand at the opening of glass Maestro Lino Tagliapietra's retrospective on Saturday morning, February 19, 2011 at the prestigious Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti entitled Lino Tagliapietra. Da Murano allo Studio Glass. Opere 1954 - 2011. After witnessing myself the glass he has blown with breath from Paradise, it was easy to understand why so many people were drawn. It seems impossible for a human being to be able to create objects so intricate and full of wonder, but Tagliapietra is proof it can be done. Now in his late 70s, he is only becoming better with age. 

Born on the glass-blowing island of Murano, little Lino did not want to go to school, he wanted to learn about the glass. So, when he was ten-years-old, over the protests of his parents, he quit going to regular school, and entered into a different, magical classroom. From the Maestro's website:

One of the world's most eminent living glass artists, Lino Tagliapietra was born in1934 on the island of the centuries-old center for Venetian glassmaking, Murano.  At the age of eleven, he was apprenticed to the glass studio of the internationally known Muranese master, Archimede Seguso, and achieved the rank of maestro by age twenty-one.  He later worked as master glassblower and designer at other glass studios, including Galliano Ferro, Venini, La Murrina, and Effetre International.

I gasped at the first piece on display, which was a cabinet filled with 98 small objects like a vase, pitcher, cup, etc. that seemed to be made from glittering gold. I thought, could this be avventurina? I looked at the description, and sure enough, it was! Years ago I had written about Murano and its fascinating glass for the International Herald Tribune - Italy Daily, and knew how difficult avventurina was to create. The name itself "avventurina" comes from the Venetian word "ventura" because you went on an adventure every time you set out to create the glass. The Maestro's avventurina work was just born this year, and since the year is not even two months old yet, it would appear Lino Taliapietra has been keeping himself busy. 

Taliapietra lives on Murano, but creates his large pieces in the United States in his workshop in Seattle, where he works with an American team. His generosity in sharing his glass-blowing secrets with the outside world is renown, and he is credited with reviving the art. 

One of my favorite pieces was called "Angel Tear," which is the image you see at the very top of the page. Here is what Lino Tagliapietra says about creating those pieces:


Colored glass cane, twisted filigree, approaching from another angle - these are only technical terms that give me a way to describe working with glass.  These terms don't capture the feeling that comes with creating a piece such as Angel Tear.  The "lacrime d'angelo" were tears of joy.  They were such a pleasure to blow, bringing me intimate satisfaction breath after breath.  One might say that all works of art should have this spirit and the same energy.  This is true.  But this time, I became very attached to these Angel Tears.  The name seemed to grow with me.

The exhibition starts in 1954 when the Maestro was only twenty-years-old; there is a perfect red goblet perched alone on a white wall. As the years progress, so does his work, the spirit of the times reflected in the glass. If that is true, it is very good news for planet Earth because Lino Taliapietra's latest works seem to have originated in Heaven itself.  

Don't miss this exhibition. 

Ciao from Venice,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

From Murano to Studio Glass.
Works 1954 – 2011
19 February – 22 May 2011 Venice,
Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti.
Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti
Campo Santo Stefano 2842 -
30124 Venice
l. +39 041 5237819

Tuesday to Sunday  10 am – 7 pm (ticket office closes at 6 pm)
Closed Monday

Individual tickets: 7.00 euros
Reductions: 5.00 euros for students, groups of more than 15, residents of and those born in the
Comune di Venezia, holders of special concessions, over 70s.
Free children up to the age of 14, one leader for each group, disabled people, their carers, two
teachers per class, university lecturers.
Reservation fee 1.50 euro


  1. There's something about owning a piece of glass you've watched being created that can't be matched. There's something intimate about it, somehow.

    My first thought at looking at the photos is struck by their beauty.

    My second is wondering where I'd put them so the cats wouldn't get at them. Can you imagine?

    I hope I can visit the region one day and watch it for myself.