If you’re planning to be in Venice over the Christmas period, make time to visit Le Stanze del Vetro on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. Here you’ll find one of this season’s must-see exhibitions, showcasing a spectacular array of Murano glass produced by the M.V.M. Cappellin & C. glassworks.
Curated by leading glass expert Marino Barovier, this is the first ever comprehensive overview of Cappellin’s production, concentrating primarily on the years between the 1920s and 1930s – when the company achieved an output of exceptional quality in terms of both technique and design.
The show focuses mainly on the instrumental contribution of the young Carlo Scarpa – later to become one of Italy’s most celebrated Twentieth Century architects – who worked with the Cappellin firm from 1926 to 1931. Initially acting as an interpreter of Giacomo Cappellin’s ideas, Scarpa was gradually allowed a greater independence with his designs, which were primarily distinguished by their geometric forms and elegant modern silhouettes.
The exhibition demonstrates the richness and variety of the Cappellin glassworks’ output during this era between the two World Wars, with a wide spectrum of works on view ranging from playful animals and sea creatures to colourful stained-glass windows, as well as vases of all shapes and sizes. One of the main highlights is an astonishing table centerpiece made from iridized crystal glass, which was exhibited at the Garden Exhibition in Florence in 1931.
The show also illustrates the results of the company’s ongoing research into the infinite technical possibilities of the medium of glass, which often led to revolutionary new techniques such as filigrana a reticella and the decoro fenicio for modern production. Among the most striking pieces on display are the vibrantly-coloured objects that, due to the opaque quality of their surfaces, resemble ceramics rather than glass.
On view for just a few more weeks, the show sheds a fascinating new light on the work of Carlo Scarpa, and offers visitors a deeper understanding of M.V.M. Cappellin & C. and of Murano in general as the historic international capital of glass.
The M.V.M. Cappellin Glassworks and the Young Carlo Scarpa 1925 – 1931 is on view at LE STANZE DEL VETRO until 6th January 2019.