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Mirror, mirror on the wall...

Mirror, mirror on the wall...
By admin 24 April 2013 11618 Views No comments

At MuranoNet we're enriching our catalogue with new fantastic mirrors, produced by artisans and not industrially. Believing that it takes patience, precision, observation, tests, mistakes and a lot of time for delivering a great handmade product, we have selected a company with strong roots in its territory, interpreter of the highest Venetian craft rules.

Specchi Arte Veneziana_legno

In fact all the mirrors are realized using different types of wood. The procedure is done through computer numerical control machines and manual labour.

The mirrors are carefully finished using different techniques, from silver and golden leaf to various lacquerings and coatings.

Glass cutting is performed by a computer numerical control machine and then adjusted by hand to the wooden structure.

The glass masters use different wheels to chamfer and get shiny the glass pieces that will be used on the mirrors, handmade as per Murano traditions.

Engraving - the most important part of the production - requires great mastery and creativity in the drawing of the glass and skill in performing the artistic work by choosing the appropriate wheel to create the desired type of engraving.

Specchi Arte Veneziana_engraving

Once engraved and bevelled the glass is cleaned and mirrored with the spray application of silver nitrate. After being silvered, the mirrors are cleaned and carefully checked one by one.

Decorations exclusively handmade by glass masters are added before quality control and packaging.

The art of handmade and rediscovery of the craft traditions filtered through contemporary lenses is possibile only following these important strict steps.

The industry of mirrors in Venice is quite old.

The first signs of the attempt to manufacture glass mirrors in Venice date back to the beginning of the fourteenth century. Prompted by the will to emulate the mirrors productions, as it already happened in Germany, in the Flanders or in Lorraine, some artisans from Murano decided to team up with German merchants. Due to clear historic reasons, the project fails and more than a century and a half will be necessary to record new trials in this effect.

Specchi Arte Veneziana_colore

It should be remembered that the possibility of manufacturing sufficiently reflective and transparent mirrors arises (in 1450) from the ability of Angelo Barovier, master of furnace, to produce - thanks to an accurate selection of raw materials and adequate processing phases - the fine, clear and shiny glass called “cristallino” by the inhabitants of Murano.

In 1507, Andrea and Domenego dal Gallo pointed out a technique to lay a slight layer of tin over crystal plates. This technique enables to achieve a manufacture privilege (a sort of patent granted by the Council of Ten in the Republic of Venice) for a period of 20 years.

Between 1534 and 1554, a manufacturer of metal mirrors - Vincenzo Redor - will develop a technique to smooth crystal plates to confer the same reflection degree of metal mirrors to glass mirrors. Such an exclusive technical evolution will be “patented” and adopted by Redor for 25 years.

Specchi Arte Veneziana_testata

Starting from this period, the quality of the mirrors manufactured in Venice (the so-called Façon de Venise) starts being unrivalled across Europe. For this reason, it is decided that this production represents a strategic element for the industrial policy of the Serenissima. It is then established that the realization of mirrors shall be carried out only within the lagoon territory and the pertaining skills and knowledge cannot be transmitted to foreign operators. The secretive attitude concerning mirror production techniques declined over time, perhaps also as a result of the arrival of industrial production of flat glass. Such secrets were indeed already of public domain after the second half of the 17th century.

However the artistic engraving skills remained, allowing Venice to remain, as it still does today, a point of reference in the production of decorative mirrors, not just in Europe but all over the world.

Now it is possible for you to enjoy a true Venetian mirror, in your home and with a 20% discount price. Just have a look here and choose your favourite!

Specchi Arte Veneziana_a mano bn

Posted in: Unfold VeniceGlossary