Saturday, June 26, 2004

Miracle Material

IHT: Rome under glass: antiquity's miracle material:

. . . . understanding of the revolutionary effect that glass had on the Roman world and its role in the subsequent development of Western civilization. . . . thanks to the coming together of experts in different fields, the history of glass has been reappraised.
The benefits of this interdisciplinary approach are displayed in an engrossing exhibition, 'Vitrum: Glass Between Art and Science in the Roman World,' at the Palazzo Pitti. The show contains more than 400 pieces of ancient glass, some of extraordinary beauty . . . it continues until Oct. 31.

Glassmaking started between 3000-2000 B.C. in Mesopotamia but the most significant technological revolution occurred in the first century B.C. in the area of Syria and Palestine: glass blowing by tube. Overnight, glass became malleable, adaptable, multipurpose; much like plastics transformed the 20th century. The Romans saw the potential almost immediately, and began to invest massively . . . We are fortunate that some amazing examples of art glass have survived the vicissitudes of the centuries, such as the "Blue Vase", an amphora decorated with figures, animals and foliage. It probably came from the same workshop as the British Museum's famous "Portland Vase".
Mark Taylor and David Hill are world renowned ARA Members in this field. Our 2001 Association visit to their Quarley, UK, studio was memorable and an outline of that occasion is in this - > Report.

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