Italian Art Glass

Italian Art Glass

Italian art glass is a name given to a range of elegantly crafted glass blowing pieces, most commonly taking the form of vases, decanters, paperweights, and other decorative items. You’ll be able to find anything that can be made of glass can also be made of Italian art glass. It is often colourful, and follows sweeping lines and curves. For some, it will look a lot like a very nice glass marble blown into a vase, while for others the colours and shapes may invoke abstract paintings.


Italian art glass has its origins in and around the island group of Murano. The glassblowers of Venice were banished there due to the perceived risk of fire from their furnaces. Back in those days, Murano was an independent town in its own right, but nowadays it falls under the jurisdiction of Venice. Italian art glass originally got its start in the 13th century. In the 19th century, glassblowing in Murano and Venice underwent a period of innovation, but it’s the next century that collectors really care about. Some of the finest work emerged between the two World Wars, and in the 50’s and 60’s.

Colours of the Rainbow

Murano art glass is well known for its many, many colours. These colours are often named after gemstones whose colours inspired the work, like with amethyst art glass and cobalt art glass. These colours can be mixed with each other, blown or moulded into vases, ashtrays, perfume bottles, bowls, and more or less anything you can think of.


A lot of Italian art glass workshops have their glass making roots in the Renaissance or even before. This is an art form with a lot of history, from a place with even more history. Many of these workshops are or were family owned, with figures like Ercole Barovier dominating their contemporaries in glass making, while coming from a long line of artisans and working within his family-owned business.