Very few objects are so recognizable the world over and have been the symbols and statements of wealth for so long as Venetian Glass Chandeliers. In the 17th century, when Venice was a mighty and rich maritime republic, Venetian nobility and merchants strived to outperform each other in demonstrating their power and wealth. Murano Glass industry flourished with talented glass masters rushing to create ever more elaborate articles of interior design to satisfy demand from their rich clientele. In addition to elegant mirrors, elaborate goblets, and gold-accented tableware, the glass masters created new designs of lighting fixtures. Replacing the unattractive and unwieldy wooden and wrought iron chandeliers of the past, the new chandeliers appeared airy, translucent, sparkly, and were richly decorated for a grand opulent look.
It was in those times that one of the mightiest Venetian families of the 17th century, Rezzonico, was building their magnificent residence, Ca’ Rezzonico, overlooking the Grand Canal. Designed by Giorgio Massari, a well-known Venetian architect, and decorated by the best artists and artisans in Venice, the palace featured beautiful façade, a grand staircase, and an unusual grandiose ballroom. The uniquely constructed soaring ceiling in the Ballroom was created by eliminating the second floor in part of the building. As a highlight of this grandeur, around 1730 Rezzonico family ordered a chandelier from Murano masters, which had to fit the regal atmosphere of the residence. Using all of their technical skills and knowledge, Murano Glass masters in the factory of Giuseppe Briati created a gorgeous two-tier masterpiece in rare polychrome glass featuring twenty candle-holders. This chandelier is the most amazing such chandelier still in existence today and it still hangs in its original room in Ca’ Rezzonico where tourists can now admire its beauty.
Moreover, this Rezzonico chandelier was so beautiful and famous that it gave rise to the entire style of Murano Glass chandeliers called Rezzonico, which is still produced in Murano Glass workshops. Rezzonico style, always in high demand for residences, hotels, restaurants, luxury boats and public spaces, is characterized by opulent detailing of stems and cups, elaborate floral elements, gorgeous colors, gold decoration, and grand multi-tier structure. Other classic Venetian chandeliers created by Murano masters today continue the famous Murano Glass chandelier tradition of the late 16th – early 17th century with translucent or colorful glass, lush decorative elements, and use of 24K gold and genuine silver leaf for gorgeous and unique look. Recently, more modern and trendy chandelier designs have also become popular, reflecting contemporary artistic trends and search for leaner forms, bolder colors, and more minimalistic styles.
Murano Glass masters have always stood apart from all their competitors around the world not only because of the superior quality of their glass creations, but also thanks to their unique ability to reinvent themselves and their craft while remaining true to the artistic heritage of Venice and traditions of their forefathers. While experimenting with new styles, decorative techniques, and artistic trends, Murano glassmakers carry on the classical traditions of craftsmanship and quality that made them world-famous since the ancient times. Today the descendants of the famous glass artisans of the centuries past continue to create gorgeous chandeliers and other pieces of art glass appreciated by even the most discerning modern-day customers.
by Kevin Grinberg