AuthorMcCray, William Patrick
AdvisorKingery, W. David
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractVenetian glass, especially that of the Renaissance, has been admired for centuries due to its quality workmanship and overall visual appeal. In addition, a certain mystique surrounds the glassmakers of Venice and their products. This dissertation research undertakes a comprehensive view of the culture and technology of Renaissance Venetian glass and glassmaking. Particular attention is paid to luxury vessel glass, especially those made of the "colorless" material typically referred to as cristallo. This segment of the industry is seen as the primary locus of substantial technological change. The primary question examined in this work is the nature of this technological change, specifically that observed in the Renaissance Venetian glass industry circa 1450-1550. After providing an appropriate social and economic context, a discussion of Venice's glass industry in the pre-Renaissance is given. Industry and guild trends and conditions which would be influential in later centuries are identified. In addition, the sudden expansion of Venice's glass production in the mid-15th century is described as a self-catalyzed phenomenon in response to prevailing cultural and economic conditions. Demand is identified as a necessary precursor to the production of luxury glass. Building on this concept, activities and behaviors relevant to demand, production, and distribution of Venetian glass are examined in depth. The interaction between the Renaissance consumer and producer is treated along with the position of Venice's glass industry in the overall culture and economy of the city. It is concluded that the technological changes observed in Venice's Renaissance luxury glass industry arose primarily out of perceived consumer demand. Social and economic circumstances particular to Renaissance Italy created an environment in which a technological development such as cristallo glass could take place. The success of the industry in the 15th and 16th centuries can be found in the fruitful interplay between consumers and producers, the manner in which the industry was organized, coupled with the skill of the Venetian glassmakers to make and work new glass compositions into a variety of desired objects.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Materials Science and Engineering