Unknown Artist, “The Rothschild Bowl,” c. 1500-1510, Murano, The Corning Museum of Glass (http://collection.cmog.org)


Another style of glass produced in Murano during the fifteenth century was lattimo, also known as milk glass.[i] Lattimo is glass that is opaque. It is made by adding lead, lime, or tin lime to the composition. Lattimo glass is believed to have been created as early as 1392 in Venice.[ii] In the sixteenth century, lattimo pieces had simple decorations applied to the surface of the object’s milky white color. The technique was influenced by eastern cultures and was meant to imitate porcelain from China. Like cristallo glass, lattimo was decorated with enamels and gold. Decorations also include scrollwork and other images in blue hues, which further aid in the imitation of Chinese porcelain.

One example, dated from 1500 now in the Corning Museum of Glass, is entitled Lattimo Bowl with Enameled and Gilt Decoration. The bowl shows the head of a young man in profile and a ribbon with the Italian and Latin inscription that roughly translates as “I am your servant.”[iii]. A circular gold band decorated with small blue dots surrounds his portrait. Three levels of red and blue spotted designs then encircle this band. The outside of the lattimo bowl is completely decorated with gold and blue enamel.

 

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[i] Mestasti, 254

[ii] Charleston, 87

[iii] Charleston, 87

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