Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection

**MEDIEVAL GLASS For Popes,Princes and Peasants

MEDIEVAL GLASS For Popes,Princes and Peasants

Corning Museum of Glass

Corning , New York

“The first exhibition of its kind in the United States, Medieval Glass for Popes,Princes and Peasants explores glass made for daily use and display in the Middle Ages: for eating and drinking, for lighting, worship, science, and medicine,  More than a hundred objects, assembled from 14 museums (including the Louvre and the Vatican) and one private collection, show the 1,000-year period of development of glassmaking between the Roman period, after which all but the simplest glassmaking techniques were lost, and the Renaissance, when the glassmakers of Venice created new standards of design and technique.”  This quote is from the show’s opening brochure on May 14, 2010.

The exhibition opens by showing exemplary examples of late Roman glassmaking emphasizing that in the coming decades all but the simplest techniques would be discarded.  As one proceeds through the galleries an array of early and late Medieval drinking vessels and bottles are displayed, representing objects recovered from pagan cemeteries in Germany, the Low Countries, northern France and England.  In a separate room “church” glass used as liturgical vessels, lighting devices and reliquaries are shown followed by a few examples of medicinal and scientific objects.

To answer the question of how these works of astonishing beauty were made, the visitor to the exhibition will get to view videos of the actual manufacture of objects similar to those  on display. William Gudenrath (Resident Advisor, The Studio, Corning), working in Corning’s studio demonstrates glass blowing and decorating using the same techniques employed by artisans from the Middle Ages.

The show concludes its story by revealing that by the 15th Century, Venice had emerged as the principal glassmaking center of the Renaissance.  We then get a glimpse of the spectacular  objects from the Golden Age of Venice so sought after all over Europe, many becoming treasured heirlooms.

The following slideshow of photographs of Medieval glass are examples of vessels made in Europe during the period of 500AD to 1500AD, however the objects pictured are not from the show.

The Corning exhibition:  MEDIEVAL GLASS For Popes, Princes and Peasants is now closed.

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