Court Filigree Glasses
Venice à la façon de Venise, 16th-17th centuries
Vetro a fili e a retortoli,partly with pewter mount
Height 8-17 cm
Published in: Laue, G.: The White Gold of Venice. Filigree Glass for European Kunstkammer, Munich 2014, Cat. Nos. 11, 13 & 16
Since filigree glass was invented in the 1530s, the exquisite vessels made by Muranese glassblowers had been regarded not only as the high point of elegant dining but also as a must for any discerning collector of rank. Pieces of filigree glass found their way into the most important European Renaissance and Baroque Kunst- and Wunderkammer. The fragile filigree glass was prized above all for its delicate decoration of thin, white threads, which sometimes enlivened the surface of perfectly colourless crystal glass as simple trails of applied glass (vetro a fili) or otherwise occurred wound in complex whorls (vetro a retortoli) or as reticulated texturing (vetro a reticello). The airy lightness of the delicate filigree decoration and the wide variety of vessel forms on which it is encountered belie the fact that this was one of the most sophisticated techniques of Renaissance glass-making.