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Venetian Techniques for Glassblowing: Introduction

Introduction to library resources on the history and technique of Venetian glassblowing. More information is available through the library catalog or by using the Rakow's Ask a Librarian service.


Venetian, or Venetian-style glassblowing is a way of working hot glass at the furnace that largely uses free-blowing techniques (utilizing heat, gravity, centrifugal force, and simple tools) to create form, together with the processes of puntying and furnace- finishing to shape a vessel’s opening. This approach is markedly different from some other glassworking traditions (Scandanavian, northern and eastern European, for example) that rely heavily on the use of full-size molds to create form, and cracking-off and cold-working processes to finish the rim of vessels.


In terms of aesthetics, historical Venetian glass made between about 1500 and 1750 can range from simplicity to the point of minimalism (Fig.1, below), to somewhat ornate (Fig. 2).

Examples dating between 1850 (Fig. 3) and later (Fig. 4) can, in many instances, appear ornate to the point of excess.

In all periods, Venetian glass objects reveal—either quietly or ostentatiously—a level of virtuosity of furnace glassblowing that has never been exceeded elsewhere and was, excepting the work of some Roman workshops of the 3rd and 4th centuries, unprecedented in history.

Today, Venetian glassworking techniques remain influential in the world of studio glass.

ONLINE BOOKS: The Techniques of Renaissance Venetian and Venetian-style Glassblowing by William Gudenrath

Introductory Texts

Excerpt from Master Class: Lino Tagliapietra

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