The glass artists

The glass artists

The origin of glass goes back to the night of time, to that free land of the Middle East where a man passed, for the first time, from nomad to sedentary. From 5000 BC he had to live, survive, organize, discover the principles of ceramics, metals and, finally, glass. The first found glass objects are opaque and colored pearls. In fact, at first, it was only used for the manufacture of small objects, such as jewelry, amulets, glasses, cups, and jars for scented oils and shavings.

All civilizations have bequeathed us pieces of glass that have survived to this day. From the impressive busts of Roman emperors at the time of the vast empire to the beautiful Venetian glasses, the glassmakers had to learn and develop a whole series of techniques in manufacturing. New ways of doing it continually arose, and so the history of glass in art is a sequence of events that make it impossible to approach the work of the artist without following a historical development.

Glasses in antiquity were always sodium based, with a high alkaline content. If we were asked the reason for this in the Marathon, that game of questions and answers, we could easily beat ignorance if we think about the type of mechanisms they had to heat up. They did not have ovens to melt at high temperatures. As the sodium glass melts at medium temperature and gives greater plasticity, there were no other options to work with. Before Roman times, glass was already famous for its colors. It could replace precious or semi-precious stones, just like the best present-day fantasy jewelry, and decorate the glasses with yellow, white, and green glass threads, which intertwined in garlands or zigzags and melted on the surface.

The oldest samples of hollow vessels are three Egyptian specimens, n (famed after the pharaoh Tuthmosis III. For about three centuries the glass industry developed at the same time in Egypt and Mesopotamia. The shape of the vessels was inspired by those that were made of ceramics, metal, and stone. At the end of the Bronze Age the Egyptian empire knows a time of anarchy and decay, but after 330 BC there are significant changes in political and cultural life with the conquests of Alexander, and with Alexandria just founded, Egypt becomes the center of Hellenistic knowledge. Glassmakers and glass cutters from Mesopotamia migrate to this area and develop the glass cast in a two-part mold, and the manufacture of mosaic glass, which consists of joining with slow fusion fragments of glass rods of various colors, arranged following a given pattern. These techniques, with engraving and carving, are perfected in parallel. The decoration is worked with enamel, and the birth of the sandwich glass is produced, placing a sheet of gold engraved between two layers of glas