Anonimo (Anonimo is the design by the anonymous glassblower on Murano who came up with the original vase design so many hundreds of years ago. Anonimo is Italian for anonymous because we really don’t know who designed that very first vase that Veronese put in his painting.)
Invocations for the Vessel: The Après Veronese Collection
By Anastasia Kruglyashova
Time transcends and tradition exists beyond its given time period, as renowned Italian avant-garde glass design impresario Cleto Munari has proved by inviting a group of international architects and artists to recreate a medieval glass vase in the contemporary historical frame. The delicately hand-blown transparent vase – a refined hallmark of the enigmatic and vibrant Renaissance glass blowing tradition of the Venetian island of Murano (one of the only glass-making movements to be kept and retained throughout the Middle Ages) – had once mysteriously found its way into the narrative of the XVI-century religious painting by the Venetian artist Paolo Veronese.
“The vase is the most significant one in the Murano tradition. It appears in a famous painting entitled “The Annunciation”, displayed at the Accademia galleries in Venice, Italy”, Munari explains. “Every great artist has always revisited this mythical vase. I did the same. I thought it would be interesting to involve a group of artist friends to reshape this artifact. Mimmo Paladino, Sandro Chia, Alessandro Mendini [were among them]. Reimagining this vase brought a completely new dimension [into contemporary design concept] because it acquires a new, fresh approach.”
A true marvel at the time, the vase from the Veronese painting has inspired glass making artists and artisans throughout subsequent centuries ever since: Milanese lawyer Paolo Venini and antiques dealer Giacomo Cappelin were among them, having replicated the vase in 1921 and titled it “Veronese” in honor of the Venetian painter, thus marking the birth of the original concept of ‘glass design’.
Ninety years later, Cleto Munari and a group of his contemporaries continue the tradition by endowing the vase with various new interpretations – experimenting with color and lucidity and utilizing today’s innovative glassmaking technologies. In the end, a versatile and vibrant collection of blown-glass masterpieces is produced possessing a unified historical silhouette, yet each one is uniquely personal, reflecting its creators’ inspirations and revealing the aesthetic vision of each one of them.
“The choice [of participating artists] was intentional because I only chose artists I trust immensely such as, for instance, Richard Meier and Boris Sipek”, Munari says.
According to the artist, regardless of how advanced new design technologies have become allowing for much experimentation, several integral elements vital to the creative process should always remain unchanged. “Besides experimentation there is a deep passion that drives me for...36 hours a day...to develop new ideas in the field of design”, Munari adds. “The creative process should involve a great passion and a sharp curiosity because these are two fundamental elements to be creative in design.”
(Participating in the Après Veronese Collection are architects Mario Botta, Massimiliano Fuksas, Richard Meier, Alessandro Mendini, David Palterer, Paolo Portoghesi, Borek Sipek, Matteo Thun and artists Carlo Nason, Mimmo Paladino, and Cleto Munari.)