The Glass Masters: Lino Tagliapietra

In the annals of glass making, the name Murano, a cluster of small island 1.5 km north of Venice, unfailingly inspires a sense of awe. For centuries, it was the center of European glass making, and even though the industry has shrunk since it peaked in the 16th century, today world-renowned glass-blowers still hone their craft in family-run furnaces on Murano, much as their predecessors did since Roman times.

To become a master is no easy feat — those who choose a life of fire typically begin an apprenticeship in their teens and train for at least 15 years until they are allowed to work as a humble laborer in a furnace. To become a master glass-blower, they must demonstrate special talent — and not everyone has what it takes.

Among the most revered names in Murano glass art is Lino Tagliapietra, who is widely regarded as the greatest exponent in the modern revival of Venetian glassblowing. Born in Murano in 1934, Tagliapietra started apprenticeship at the age of eleven, perfecting his glassblowing skills through years of observation, repetition and production. In his long career, he has experimented with different possibilities of the material, creating evocative works that combine unusual shape washed with a palette of vibrant colors. His works have been exhibited in private galleries as well as prestigious museums such as the Victoria and Albert in London, the Corning Museum of Glass in New York, and the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. For the past three decades, Tagliapietra has generously shared his and knowledge of traditional Venetian glassblowing techniques with younger artists and audiences around the world, sparking a new renaissance in this ancient art form.

Murano glass master, Lino Tagliapietra.

Selected Works of Lino Tagliapietra

2 Spiral Vase, 1992, Half-filigree blown glass, H 40 cm x W 11 cm
Rainbow_1985, Blown polychrome cane glass, H 25 cm x W 25 cm
River Stone Vase, 1996, Triple incalmo blown glass with murine band, H 36 cm x W 33 cm x D 13 cm
Stromboli, 2002, Blown cane glass, H: 42 cm; W: 29 cm
Hopi, 2003, Blown cane glass, H 33 cm x W 39 cm x D 39 cm
Orca, 2009 Blown cane glass, incalmo battuto, 98 cm (H)
Dinosaur, 2010, Blown cane glass, H 144 cm x W 34 cm
Maui, 2010. H: 23.75; W: 15.5 cm
Tatoosh, 2009 Filigree blown glass, H 67 cm x W 32 cm x D 20 cm
Endeavour 2011 Blown cane glass H 220 cm, W 1470 cm
Saturno, 2011 Blown cane glass, incalmo battuto, H 68 cm x 86 cm x D 18 cm
Fuji, 2011 Blown murine glass, H 42 cm x W 49 cm x D 17 cm
Masai, 2011, Blown glass, ground, gilt, H 150 cm x W 250 cm
Angel Tear, 2011, Half-filigree blown glass, H 86 cm x W 56 cm
Borboleta It Glardino di Fartalle (Garden of Butterflies), 2011, Blown incalmo and half-filigree glass, H 67 cm x W 400 cm x D 300 cm
Display of artworks by Lino Tagliapietra at the Palm Springs Art Museum, US.

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