Glass and Marble in Art

Glass and Marble in Art
Both substances are found in nature, with ancient origins, and able to be transformed into endless forms. I will discuss these mysterious, yet familiar mediums.

Glass is naturally found in volcanic glass (rock in a glassy state).
Manmade glass is believed to have originated 4,000-4,500 years ago in Mesopotamia when they mixed mud, sand, soda, and lime.

Made for adornment, Syrian amulets from 1500 BC are believed to have warded off evil, offering protection to the wearer.

Glass Egyptian perfume bottles date back to 1400 BC, English wine bottles from 1650 AD, and Chinese snuff bottles from 1700 AD are fine examples of the use of glass from different countries.

Around 50 BC in the Middle East, the first blown glass originated by blowing air into a tube. The procedure was later mastered by the Romans.

During the 9th century on the island of Murano, near Venice, glassblowers would produce the finest glass in the world. Very few continue the tradition to this day.

The multi-colored glass called 'millefiori' and glass woven with threads of gold called 'aventurine' are trademarks of Murano glass.

About 50 AD, glass windows were used in Rome despite being small, thick, and opaque.

Glass windows were used in European Gothic cathedrals in 1065 AD.

In the US, Tiffany Studios in New York produced opalescent glass for lamps, beginning in 1878.

The word 'marble' is from the Greek, meaning 'shining' or 'sparkling'. Marbles from the children's game are made from glass. They were handmade until the 1920s when machine-made prevailed.

Marble has been said to help with meditation and in recalling dreams.

From the Bible, Song of Solomon 5:15, certain parts of the body are compared to gold, ivory, and marble.

Many notable artists sculpted from the white Carrera marble from the Apuan Alps in Tuscany, Italy. Its quarries supply the most marble to artists across the globe.

Michelangelo (allegedly) spent months there searching for the perfect block of 'statuario' or 'pure white stone' for his "Pieta," an inspiration for many artists.

Italian Baroque sculptor Bernini created "Apollo and Daphne" (1625) from the Borghese Gallery and Museum, Rome. It's as if the artist breathed life into the lifeless marble.

Italian Neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova created "Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss" (1793). Executed with such precision, it can be seen at the Louvre, Paris.

French artist Auguste Rodin sculpted "The Kiss" in 1793. A testament to love, it can be seen at the Louvre, Paris.

German French artist Jean Arp sculpted biomorphic forms such as "Growth" from 1934.

English artist Henry Moore sculpted organic forms. His "Square Form with Cut" (1974) can be seen outdoors in the Piazza San Marco, Prato, Italy.

Carrera marble was used to construct Trajan's Column, and parts of the Pantheon, both from Rome, Italy.

Today, some artisans employ automated robots to 'sculpt' instead of using hammer and chisel. This is reminiscent of the robots in "Westworld."

The upside is their ability to reproduce and replace destroyed world heritage sites, in a smaller scale.

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This content was written by Camille Gizzarelli. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Camille Gizzarelli for details.