Find out a little more about the vintage items I am curating in my Etsy Store -


Renaissance Glass in Italy and how it influenced politics

Murano was a popular tourist destination for both the affluent and the middle class during the Renaissance. Travelers came not only to visit the glass workshops, but also to view many of the religious relics in the area, as a stop through on their way to the Holy Land. Like most of Italy, Murano was experiencing an economic windfall during this time period due to a population swell that occurred post plague. As more people flooded the area an increased demand for goods and services lead to an improvement in economic status for the region.

An affluent middle class of merchants, bankers, and tradesmen developed leading to increased consumption of luxury goods such as glass. Glass, at the time, was a novel possession. It was more cost effective than items made of precious metals while at the same time beautiful and impressive for display. Glass not only provided functionality in the form of kitchen wares but also could be used to convey status and wealth in the form of luxury glass. With the benefit of tourism and the ability to produce quality, technologically advanced goods, Murano became the epicenter of the glass making industry and Venetian glass the epitome of fine glassware.

Venice was home to a very detailed system of glass guild workers. Each worker was bound by a set of guild restrictions that limited production and distribution of finished goods and raw materials, travel outside the city, and provided guidelines for customer interaction. Guild members could be part of any number of specialized activities involved in the final production of the glass and this division of labor led to an increase in productivity and quality of work. The island Murano, itself, enjoyed special governmental protections due to the proliferation of its glass making industry and was annexed to become part of the city of Venice. Some of these rights included the ability for daughters of glass makers to marry into noble families, thus making a leap in economic and social status possible for industry workers. Connections to important families not only helped individuals increase in status, but gave the glass workers, guilds, and studios powerful political allies and sources of investment. And while the guilds officially did not have power within the government they did exert much political force not unlike the unions of today.

Beautiful examples of glassworks I am curating in my Etsy store:
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