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Salviati & C. Salvaging Murano Glass Tradition from Passing into Oblivion

Antonio Salviati, a lawyer from Vicenza, made his dramatic entrance into the arena of Murano glass industry, in 1859. His concern about the near degradation of the mosaics of St. Mark’s Basilica and keen enthusiasm for business made him divert from his original profession of a lawyer and turn to glass art. Since he was not well versed in the art of glassmaking, he decided to associate himself with some of the veteran glass artists of Murano. This happened just when the Murano glass industry was suffering a low patch during the 18th century.

Salviati got a star Murano glass artist in the person of Lorenzo Radi. Radi was a glass artisan who had invented a fabulous enamel mosaic technique. He also developed a method to apply them. Radi’s enamel mosaic was more colourful and extra durable. The duo established their first venture in 1859.

The growth of the Salviati glass was phenomenal during the proceeding years. Soon it became an international concern with branches in other continents. By 1867 the London branch was opened. The work of Salviati included the mosaic works of several churches and cathedrals in the United Kingdom. Salviati installed Venetian mosaic panels in alters, walls, baptismal fonts and pavements of both Catholic and Protestant churches in England. The company was named ‘Salviati Dott. Antonio fu Bartolomeo’, when it was established in 1859. Thereafter the name changed many times till it was renamed in 1920 Salviati&C. The founder Antonio Salviati died in 1890. But his sons and daughter continued to manage the family business.

The name Salviati is always considered synonymous with quality glass ware. Their creations always showed extremely high levels of c raftsmanship and imagination. The firm crafted mosaic works based on the designs made by their own artists and designers. Their artistic creations included all types of paintings, frescoes and mosaic scenes. But the company always made it a point to move with times. As a result, it often diverted from traditional designs to accommodate contemporary designs. The company makes use of the ideas and designs from contemporary artists and architects like Edward Burne-Jones and G. G. Scot.

At present Salviati & C. has increased its swathe to all the six continents. The company undertakes works in churches, cathedrals, public buildings and even private residences. Their mosaic works are now world famous and maintains a class of their own.

by Marina Chernyak

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Marina Chernyak
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