Stunning New Photos of a Murano Glass Collection That Spans 400 Years

Quick history lesson: Until the mid-1500s, most glass had a brown or green tint and lacked clarity. Then the Murano-based glassmaker Angelo Barovier developed a formula using quartz, plant ash, and manganese oxide, and thus cristallo was born — the clearest, most light-transmitting glass in Europe at the time. Every glassblower and artist wanted to work with it, every rich patron wanted to collect it, and soon Murano was practically synonymous with glass artisanship in the Western world. Fast forward to the 1870s and the newly minted National Gallery of Victoria in Australia began collecting it, and has ever since; earlier this spring it mounted a survey of its sprawling Venetian glass collection called Liquid Light, which spans works from the 16th through the 20th century. The show closed in April, but we discovered its riches this month in the portfolio of one of our latest photographer crushes, Victoria Zschommler.

Based between Australia, France, and the UK, Zschommler has done quite a bit of work for fashion and beauty clients like Boucheron, Paco Rabanne, Burberry, and H&M, but we’re fans of her still lifes, some her own and some for magazines like Vogue Living. In her shots for the Liquid Light show, which were styled by SU alum Nat Turnbull, a selection of the more fanciful and ornate examples from the museum’s collection are carefully arranged on sumptuous tablescapes and lit like preening film stars. You can see Zschommler’s images below, and then afterwards click here to read an essay by Matthew Martin that goes into much more detail about the history of Venetian glass, from cristallo to current day.

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