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European Virtual Training Centre
for glass arts and techniques

Italy Incalmo


Written and translated by Silvana Gubetta

Incalmo is a technique that was created in Murano in the 16th century. In fact, the first glass pieces with incalmo filigree layers, which have areas of crystal engraved by diamond point next to areas of gold leafed crystal, appear in the second half of the 16th century.

In the sixteen hundreds, the technique is applied with effects of minimal refinement, so much so that it is difficult for the inexperienced to grasp the technical complexity required by some works.

This technique which is so difficult to execute, is brought back into focus from the second half of the eighteen hundreds only to then be widely used in the second half of the 20th century.

Some examples dated 1938 are made up of works by Dino Martens, while those of 1940 are refined works designed for Venini by Carlo Scarpa.

In the Fifties, designers Giò Ponti and Riccardo Licata are highlighted with their “murina band” vases. The same goes for Paolo Venini and the famous “clessidre”.

In the Sixties Thomas Sterns’ asymmetrical vases are of notable interest. They are characterized by their double incalmo and the juxtaposition of subdued transparent colors in the works of Tapio Wirkkala, while Benjamin Moore, again for Venini reaches perfection of form in the “ incalmo textiles” series.

The prestigious works of Lino Tagliapietre follow, and more recently those of Sonja Blomdahl to name a few creators.