Ewer

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Ewer

Italy, Venice, circa 1500
Furnishings; Serviceware
Glass, gilt, enamel
10 × 8 × 5 in. (25.4 × 20.32 × 12.7 cm) Height: 10 in. (25.4 cm) Diameter (Diameter): 5 in. (12.7 cm)
Purchased with funds provided by William Randolph Hearst by exchange, Decorative Arts Council Acquisition Fund, Decorative Arts Curatorial Discretionary Fund, Mrs. Lorna Hammond, the William A. Dinneen Estate, Mrs. Edwin Greble, Mrs. Walter Barlow, Mr. and Mrs. Allan C. Balch Collection, Allan Ross Smith, and Mrs. Wesley Heard (84.2.1)
Currently on public view:
Ahmanson Building, floor 3 MAP IT
Ahmanson Building, floor 3

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Curator Notes

Although surviving Venetian glass dates only from the Renaissance, early archaeological and documentary evidence shows that glass was produced in Venice as early as the seventh century on the island o...
Although surviving Venetian glass dates only from the Renaissance, early archaeological and documentary evidence shows that glass was produced in Venice as early as the seventh century on the island of Torcello and in the city proper by the tenth century. In 1291, because of fire hazard, the glassworks of Venice were relocated to the island of Murano , where they remain today. The fall of Christian Syria (about 1400) weakened the Islamic world's domination of the glass market and lent impetus to the Venetian industry. It is likely that refugee Syrian glassmakers settled in the city at that time, bringing with them techniques of enamel decoration and gilding inherited from the earlier glassmaking tradition of the Eastern Roman Empire. Venetian glassmakers came to rely heavily on Islamic vessel forms and decoration; by 1500 Venice had become the prime source of common and luxury glass for both Europe and the East. The strong ties Venice established with the East are evident in this sumptuous gilded and enamel-decorated ewer. Its shape imitates Eastern metal prototypes. It is one of a group of ten glass vessels of identical shape but differing decoration. Assembled from four pieces (body, spout, handle, foot), the ewer is characteristically Venetian in concept and execution, but Islamic influences appear in the form of the body and in the band of white flame-patterned enamel on the neck. The shell gilding with red, green, and yellow enamel dots is typical of Venetian luxury glass of this period and was meant to imitate gem-encrusted vessels of gold or silver.
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Bibliography

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art Members' Calendar 1987,  vol. 24-25, no. 12-1 (December, 1986-January, 1988).
  • Price, Lorna.  Masterpieces from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  Los Angeles:  Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1988.
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art Members' Calendar 1987,  vol. 24-25, no. 12-1 (December, 1986-January, 1988).
  • Price, Lorna.  Masterpieces from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  Los Angeles:  Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1988.
  • Hess, Catherine. The Arts of Fire: Islamic Influences on Glass and Ceramics of the Italian Renaissance. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust, 2004.
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