Africa

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Object Name: 
Sculpture
Title: 
Africa
Accession Number: 
2014.4.25
Dimensions: 
Overall H: 30 cm, Diam (max): 45 cm
Location: 
Not on Display
Date: 
2014
Credit Line: 
Gift of the artist, in memory of David B. Whitehouse
Web Description: 
The acclaimed Venetian glassblower Lino Tagliapietra was a longtime friend of Dr. David Whitehouse (British, 1941–2013), the Corning Museum’s former executive director. Tagliapietra created this large spherical sculpture at a public demonstration on March 14, 2014, during a seminar at the Museum in which Whitehouse’s friends and colleagues presented papers on archaeology and ancient and Islamic glass. Although Tagliapietra made the sculpture almost entirely by himself, he was assisted by the Museum’s gaffers when the work became very heavy at the end of the demonstration. The artist donated the completed sculpture to the Museum in Whitehouse’s memory. Tagliapietra spent nearly an hour making this object at the furnace, using the glass-forming technique known as murrine romane (Roman mosaic). Developed in 1936 at Murano’s Venini glassworks by Carlo Scarpa (Italian, 1906–1978) and Paolo Venini (Italian, 1895–1959), murrine romane is a process inspired by ancient Roman mosaic glass vessels. The first step involves making patterned murrine (mosaic) canes (in this case, using blue, white, and green glass), cutting them into square pieces, and arranging the pieces on a marver. The pieces are heated in a furnace until they fuse together, and then they are covered with a gather of colorless glass. The mass is picked up on the blowpipe from the center rather than by rolling the mass onto the end of the pipe. The glass is then carefully formed into a bubble and cased in colorless glass. For Africa, Tagliapietra chose to dip the murrine bubble into a “pineapple” optic mold to create diamond-shaped indentations, into which blue glass powder was sprinkled. As the bubble continued to be formed and enlarged, the glass powders fused into the sculpture, creating a speckled effect. Signed: “L. Tagliapietra 2014 To David/Corning,” engraved around base. For more information, see Rosa Barovier Mentasti and Sandro Pezzoli, eds., Lino Tagliapietra: From Murano to Studio Glass: Works, 1954–2011, Venice: Marsilio, 2011; and Susanne K. Frantz, Lino Tagliapietra in Retrospect: A Modern Renaissance in Italian Glass, Tacoma, Washington: Museum of Glass, and Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008.
Provenance: 
Tagliapietra, Lino (Italian, b. 1934), Source
2014-03-14
to
2014-03-16
Material: 
Inscription: 
L. Tagliapietra 2014 To David / Corning
signature
Engraved around foot
Primary Description: 
Sculpture, "Africa". Colorless, blue, white, and green glasses, dark blue glass powder; fused, optic-molded, blown. Spherical sculpture or sculptural vessel made of murrine romane (roman mosaic) glass. The piece started as a flat fused rectangle of murrine romane completely covered with a colorless layer of glass. The piece was heated and picked up on the blowpipe in the middle. It was blown and shaped and then dipped into an optic "pineapple" mold. Glass powder was applied, which stuck in the depressions created by the optic mold. The piece continued to be worked and gradually enlarged, the murrine romane expanding to look almost like filigrana. The finished sculpture has a colorless body laden with transparent light blue patches and evenly-spaced dark blue spots. Alternating yellow and white spirals cover body as well. Thin white lines fan out around rim; wavy white lines form band around midsection and around foot. Very narrow inverted rim. Short cylindrical colorless foot.
Recent Important Acquisitions (New Glass Review 36) (2015) illustrated, p. 125 (top right); BIB# AI99415
The Corning Museum of Glass: Notable Acquisitions 2014 (2015) illustrated, p. 63 (#44); BIB# AI100547
Recent Acquisitions (2014) illustrated, p. 14, left; BIB# AI98736
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 2014 (2014) illustrated, p. 34; BIB# 706293