The Veronese vase pictured above (beside the pillar near Mary’s cowering figure) has fired the imagination of glass designers as the only existing record of an exquisite glass object that existed in the 16th century when it was painted by Paulo Veronese. Bulbous at its center, holding a small branch of leaves, the perfectly crafted hand-blown crystalline vase must have so impressed the painter, he paid homage to its beauty by incorporating it into this religious painting. Still the vase would have been extremely difficult to produce with 16th century technology.
For many the painting begs to question the existence of the vase as a real object or that of the artist’s imagination. Centuries later, in 1921, a design company called Cappellin Venini & Co, founded by a young Milanese lawyer named Paolo Venini and an antique shop dealer named Giacomo Capellin, produced the vase featured in the painting and dubbed it “Veronese,” after the artist who first painted it. The vase became deeply popular, launching Venini’s name and marking the company’s first major contribution to the design world.
Still operating in Murano and now called simply Venini, the firm recently celebrated it’s 90th anniversary earlier this year. In addition to a series of events and museum exhibits, the company released a colorful 12-set of the iconic vases. An single vase recently retailed at Moss design shop in Chelsea for $2,500.
Coming on the heels of this grand celebration another Murano designer commemorates the Veronese vase in a different way. Cleto Murani, an italian designer known for his advant-garde products, invited 11 artists and architects to design and create variations on the “Veronese” vase. The quirky renditions in this series play with transparency, color, and form. Munari’s roster includes artchitect Mario Botta, Massimiliano Fuksas, Richard Meier, Alessandro Mendini, David Palterer, Paolo Portoghesi, Borek Sipek, Matteo Thun and artist Carlo Nason, Mimmo Paladino, and himself, Cleto Munari.
Munari hails from Vincenza, Italy and has been designing avantgarde housewares and jewelry since the 1970′s. In 2002 his company, Cleto Munari Design Associates, invested in a glass factory in Venice, Italy, thus beginning their foray into glass design.
The 11 vase collection is available to consumers in limited quantity; there are only 49 of each vase. All the works are available for viewing online and at the GD Cucine Showroom in Chelsea, New York.
IF YOU GO:GD Cucine Showroom
227 West 17th Street
New York City, NY 10011