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Biography: W. Patrick McCray

W. Patrick McCray

W. Patrick McCray, a doctoral candidate majoring in materials science and engineering at the University of Arizona, studied the culture and technology of glassmaking in Renais­sance Venice. McCray earned his M.S. and B.S. in mate­rials science and engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.

“During the Italian Renaissance, significant economic and social changes occurred as patterns of consumerism and conspicuous consumption of luxury goods such as glass took place,” he wrote in his Rakow Grant application. “In addition, tradi­tional opinions about the status of technological activities changed. Correspondingly, a transforma­tion is seen in the Venetian glass industry in the 15th century. In response to market demand for luxury glass, new recipes and manufacturing technologies emerged.”

To provide a contextual description of these glassmaking activities, McCray re­viewed archival materials, pictorial representations of glass, and recipe books. Much of this research was conducted in Venice and Murano. The in­formation was augmented by chemical analyses and the study of pieces of Renaissance glass in museum collections.