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1 / Converging Cultures

Pilgrim Flask
Pilgrim Flask
Artist / Origin Unknown artist, Venice, Italy
Region: Europe
Date ca. 1500–25
Material Free-blown glass, enameled and gilded
Dimensions H: 12 3/8 in. (31.4 cm.)
Location Robert Lehman Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Credit Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

expert perspective

Alan ChongCurator of the Collection, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Pilgrim Flask

» Unknown artist, Venice, Italy

expert perspective

Alan Chong Alan Chong Curator of the Collection, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

In the fifteenth century, as Venice began to expand its trading empire, it came into conflict with the Ottomans. The Ottomans were an Islamic dynasty. There are craftsmen from the East who are brought to Venice to produce metalwork and glass. Beautiful trays and vessels that were produced in what is now Lebanon and Syria were eagerly imported to Venice. Islamic glass was seen as so sophisticated in terms of coloring and lightness and shape. And immediately after glass was imported, it starts being copied by the glass makers in Murano. Venetian glass not only copies Islamic forms, it is quickly regarded as finer, lighter, more delicate, and therefore more superior, in the end.” 

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